A Wagner Matinee

1390 Words6 Pages
There are several purposes Willa Cather has in her short story, “A Wagner Matinee.” The two main purposes of this story are to entertain the reader and to reveal a theme. Before discussing theses purposes, back ground on Cather will be given so as to gain as better understanding and appreciation for her writing. Willa Sibert Cather was born December 7th, 1873 on a small farm in Back Creek Valley near Winchester, Virginia. Her mother and father, Mary and Charles Cather, had seven children, Willa being the oldest. The family moved to the immigrant village of Red Cloud, Nebraska in 1883. Cather grew up around many different cultures from Europe and was, therefore, exposed to the harsh realities of new life on the Great Plains at an early age (Webster’s 69). Cather’s grandmothers educated her because there no schools close enough for her to attend. They taught her many things including Latin and Classic English literature. Her first literary influence was Virgil (Twentieth 257). To pay her way through college, Cather took a job with the Pittsburgh Leader. Some have speculated that this caused her to become a realist as an author (Downs 54). From 1906-1912 Cather was the managing editor of McClure’s Magazine. According to Ida Tarbell, Cather didn’t like the magazine’s “’muckraking’ and crusading methods” and eventually quit (Twentieth 258). According to her obituary in the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, one of Cather’s friends once said, “She did her work, did it well, and let it go at that. She avoided the limelight” (Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph 1). According to Twentieth Century Authors, Cather’s books can be divided by subject: Her novels may be divided into three groups: those dealing with the West, and particularly with foreign-born farmers…; those short stories and novelettes… and deal mostly with artists and sophisticated Easterners; and those, merging
Open Document