Willa Cather Character Analysis

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Carolyn DeGrazia
Professor Gerald
January 30, 2012
Character Analysis
Willa Cather once said, “Where there is great love, there are always wishes.” She makes this quote relevant in her Pulitzer-prize winning novel, One of Ours. One of Ours is a story about Claude Wheeler, a young man from Nebraska, struggling to find his purpose in life. Throughout the entire novel, he only has one consistent presence in his life that truly believes in him and that is his mother.

Mrs. Wheeler, a Protestant Christian, has been married to Mr. Wheeler for more than twenty years. Although she has birthed three boys, she has taken care of many others in her life due to the farm life of her husband. That’s exactly what she is-a caretaker. She was the perfect visionary of a woman during the time period of World War 1. She did was she was told and seldom complained. Claude Wheeler has always had a deep connection with his mother. In the beginning of the novel, Claude is forced to go to Temple, a religious university where his mother knows the headmaster. Claude and his mother give and take. Although they may not agree on some of their choices, they support each other in every way. When asked her opinion of Claude’s self-fulfilling duty of signing up for war, “Mrs. Wheeler has quietly put down her knife and fork. She looked at her husband in a vague alarm, while her fingers moved restlessly about over the tablecloth.” (pg. 172) She knows her place and understands that Claude has been disappointed to many times in his life for her to get in the way of his dreams of war. When Claude passed away, Mrs. Wheeler seemed relieved that he passed away overseas. “He died believing his own country better than his.” (pg. 336) All throughout Claude’s life, Mrs. Wheeler had sympathy for her son and attempted to understand and simmer his disappointment with the world. The connection between her and her son will forever go down in history. Her faith in God helped her through her grief of...
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