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A Comparison of the Writing Styles of Mary Austin and Willia Cather Essay Sample

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A Comparison of the Writing Styles of Mary Austin and Willia Cather Essay Sample

Mary Austin wrote a novel called “Land of Little Rain” that depicts death valley and the surrounding desert. The landscape of the story is no doubt a desert; sand dunes, small shrubs, will grass, blistering heat, scavengers and very little water. Although the desert can be easily described, Austin goes to great lengths to show the relationships between the subtle changes in the landscape, behavioral patterns of animals, and even the way plant life grows around the landscape. For example, she describes and almost personifies the way that the dunes are blown up on themselves that eventually form a shield that protect the grasses and shrubs that grow behind the dunes.Austin takes a blunt picture of the landscape and shapes and sharpens it into a fluid ecosystem. She shows the vibrance of life that exists in the so-called death valley.

Willia Cather is the author of the novel called “My Antonia” that follows the path of a boy, Jim Burden, who moves west and befriends a bohemian family that settles close to his. Jim is a thoughtful, self-aware individual that is very introverted; wandering through the woods and pasture on his horse, his thoughts wandering like he is. Like Austin, Cather uses the landscape to springboard themes and motifs throughout the book, often the scenery being an outward expression of the thoughts and feelings of the characters. For example, the rugged, untamed, potentially dangerous landscape foreshadows the imminent suicide of his friend’s father. The death is also very dangerous because he was the main breadwinner of the family, and without him the family could potentially be trapped in the winds and chill of the landscape themselves. Cather pulls from the scenery but uses it as a garnish rather than the main focus of Austin’s work.

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