Willa Cather's Characterization Technique in Neighbor Rosicky

3951 words 16 pages
Willa Cather's Characterization Technique in Neighbor Rosicky

" Neighbor Rosicky ", written in 1928 and collected in the volume Obscure Destinies

in 1932, is generally considered one of Willa Cather's most successful short stories. It

is a character study of Anton Rosicky, a man who, facing the approach of death, reflects on

the meaning and value of his life. In tracing Rosicky's journey from Bohemia to

Nebraska,Cather explores the intimate relationship between people and the paces they inhabit.

The story also celebrates the small triumphs of life. ( Wilson 1) The protagonist, Neighbor Rosicky is presented from the point of view of an observer,

an omniscient narrator, who enters the consciousness of several different
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"If Rosicky

went to throw hay down from the loft, one of the boysran up the ladder and took the fork from

him. He sometimes complained that though he was getting to be an old man, he wasn't an old

woman yet."

Another important device of Cather's characterization technique is the

authorial comment. A lot of information about Rosicky's and, last but not least, about other

characters' outlook we get from these authorial comments. Already in the beginning of the

short story we got a very detailed description of how Rosicky looked like. ... his queer, triangular-shaped eyes. His eyes were large and lively, but the lids were

caught up in the middle in a curious way, so that they formed a triangle. He had a ruddy

colour in his smooth-shaven cheeks and his lips, under his long brown mustache. His hair

was thin and ragged around his ears, but very litle grey. His forhead, naturally high and

crossed by deep parallel lines, now ran all the way up to his pointed crown. Rosicky's face

had the habit of looking interested – suggested a contented disposition and a reflective quality

that was gay rather than grave. This gave him a certain detachment, the easy manner of an

onlooker and observer.

But if we examine this description more attentively, we can see that it is not only a

mere physical scatch about a man, but rather hides deep interest of the