Sapphira The Slave Girl

426 Words2 Pages
, powerful, passionate, these are just some of the words that describe Willa Cather. A Pulitzer Prize Winning author, whose works inspired many young authors. Though some may say her final works marked the decline of her artistic power, she is still a literature genius. She wrote of women’s struggles and frontier life in her novels: Lucy Gayheart, Sapphira the Slave Girl, and Shadows on the Rock. Willa Sibert Cather was born on December 7, 1817. She was the first of seven children, and spent her childhoods at Willowshade, the family farm in Virginia. When she was 10, her family moved to Red Cloud, Nebraska, leaving the farm, for the western frontier. Cather loved the outdoors, and being forced to leave it behind made her resentful of change.…show more content…
She is crippled by dropsy, she married late and also married beneath her station. Her husband, Henry, resides at his mill. He only comes to the estate occasionally, for he is not comfortable with slaver, Sapphira, however, is. While walking in the garden, she overheard to of her slaves gossiping about Henry. She believes that Henry is having an affair with Nancy, a young mulatto girl. She begins to mistreat her, and invites a nephew to come rape Nancy. Fed up with the abuse, she seeks help with two abolitionist neighbors. She eventually makes connections with the Underground Railroad, and flees to Canada. 25 years later, Nancy visits her mother in Virginia. It is later revealed that the narrator of the story, which is Cather, is a child who has heard stories of Nancy’s escape. This story shows how white women in the old days had to deal with constant rumors from slaves. It shows how they struggled to sustain their marriage with young attractive foreigners working around the estate. It also shows Cather’s reflection on frontier life, as the story is told by her childhood-self retelling stories that have been told to her as she was growing up in the south. The young Lucy Gayheart is the center of the story in the book of the same name. Lucy is a young piano studies major from Haverford, and resides by the Platte River. While on Christmas holiday, she’s joined by the most eligible bachelor
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