The Professor's House by Willa Cather: Professor St. Peter

Topics: Willa Cather, Time, The Professor's House Pages: 3 (933 words) Published: November 28, 2005
The Professor's House Bottom of p.238-239

"When the first of August came round, the Professor realized that he had pleasantly trifled away nearly two months at a task which should have taken little more than a week. But had had been doin5ttg a good deal besides – something he had never before been able to do. St. Peter had always laughed at people who talked about ‘day-dreams,' just as he laughed at people who naively confessed that they had ‘an imagination.' All his life his mind had behaved in a positive fashion. When he was not at work, or being actively amused, he went to sleep. He had no twilight stage. But now he enjoyed this half-awake loafing with his brain as if it were a new sense, arriving late, like wisdom teeth. He found he could lie on the sand-spit by the lake for hours and watch the seven motionless pines drink up the sun. In the evening, after dinner, he could sit idle and watch the stars, with the same immobility. He was cultivating a novel mental dissipation – enjoying a new friendship. Tom Outland had not come back again through the garden door (as he had so often done in dreams!), but another boy had: the boy the Professor had long ago left behind him in Kansas, in the Solomon Valley – the original, unmodified Godfrey St. Peter."

Finding Professor St. Peter
The Professor's House by Willa Cather dissects the life of Professor St. Peter describing his need to work in his study away from his family, his need for power in his household and his obsession with the idea that the past is better than the present. Throughout the novel, Cather portrays St. Peter as a workaholic who has no time for his family's frivolous activities. However, in this passage, St. Peter realizes that, in their absence, he can relax and the boy he once was can be reborn. In the past, St. Peter had mocked anyone who did not use their time productively: "St. Peter had always laughed at people who talked about ‘day-dreams,'" and "people who naively confessed that...
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