THE SONG OF THE LARK
By Willa Cather
Modernism characterized a radical aesthetic shift in art and literature. Following the age of Realism, Modernist authors began to introduce a variety of literary devices, which changed conventional expectations. Willa Cather's The Song of the Lark is a perfect example of a modernist piece. Cather challenges realist order and attention to detail by utilizing fragmented, non-chronological writing, epiphany, and switching between different voices and perspectives. These characteristics are present throughout the novel, making The Song of the Lark a great example of modernist work.
The theme of Cather's story is that the destiny of individuals attracted to the arts and their artistic ambition forces them to make choices which have serious consequences for their lives. The plot revolves around Thea Kronborg, a struggling opera singer, and her climb to celebrity. She ventures out of Moonstone, a small town in the Colorado desert, to gain experience and knowledge of music.
Through her friends, all of which are males, Thea finds the support and guidance she needs in order to succeed. On her path to fame, Thea faces many life-altering events. Her move out of Moonstone to the big city (Chicago) alienates her from her old friends and family. She comes back an entirely different person and is able to view everyone in a different perspective. This forces her to realize that she can no longer go back to Moonstone. "When she went away from it for good, she would leave something that she could never recover." (Cather, 216). Later on, when she finally finds a chance to show her talent Thea struggles with the decision of whether to stay in Germany and perform or to return to Colorado to see her dying mother. These are examples of the way Cather reinforces the theme...