The Work of Willa Cather
Inspiration is a passionate spark that influences people. It can arises from nature, people, and a personal experiences. Artists throughout history have found inspiration from within their own personal experiences, the people in their lives, and their surroundings. An artist can look into their past to inspire their art work. Whether an artist channels their inspiration though music, paintings, or writing they all have a goal in mind to show the world what sparked their inspiration. Critically acclaimed writer, Willa Cather used her personal life experiences to inspire her literature. Willa Cather’s personal experience as a journalist, her appreciation for the prairie, and the cherished relationships she formed throughout her life all influenced her literary work through the vivid settings and unique characters she created.
Willa Cather’s personal experience as a journalist influenced her literary work. Cather became a journalist working for several publications after graduating from The University of Nebraska (“Willa Cather Timeline”). During her time as a journalist she gained valuable skills such as research and investigative skills. As a journalist she learned to efficiently interview people, and ensure the information she gathered was accurate. Cather’s award winning novel, One of Ours, follows the story of a young male solider during World War I in France. The story took Cather four long years to complete because she wanted to write an accurate war-tale. Merrill Skaggs author of, After the World Broke in Two, describes Cather’s extensive research, “The novel started well… Cather went back to Nebraska and then to France to research it further” (Skaggs 4). The novel takes place in both Nebraska and France, so Cather would go back and forth gathering accurate information about both settings. Cather’s experience as a journalist gave her the skills she needed for her upcoming novel. She had gained research skills from her years as a journalist and still managed to incorporate them into her fictional writing. Cather’s personal experience as journalist continued to aid her writing as she conducted interviews. As Cather’s research for her novel, One of Ours, progressed she conducted interviews with war veterans; Skaggs said, “[Cather] made use of…factual background materials that came to her from interviews or research” (Skaggs 4). Since Cather did not have any personal experience as a soldier, she had to take from what she knew as a journalist and apply it into the war character she created. Her past occupation as a journalist required her to be confident in interviewing people. Her various interviews with war veterans allowed her to write an precise insight of a war veteran’s mind, since the main character in , One of Ours, is a soldier. Her various interviews permitted an accurate view point. Overall Willa Cather’s experience as a journalist influenced the methods she used to write her literature.