On the Beach

O Pioneers! – Summary

O Pioneers! opens on a blustery winter day, in the town of Hanover, Nebraska, sometime between 1883 and 1890. The narrator introduces four principal characters: the very young Emil Bergson; his stalwart older sister, Alexandra; her gloomy friend Carl Linstrum; and a pretty little Bohemian child, Marie Shabata. From town, Emil and Alexandra and their …

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O Pioneers! – Part I

Summary The novel opens on a blustery January day in the fictional town of Hanover, Nebraska, some time between 1883 and 1890. A young woman named Alexandra Bergson has come to the small town to consult a doctor about her dying father. In town, her younger brother Emils cat gets stuck atop a telegraph pole, …

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O Pioneers! – Part III

Summary The shortest of the novels sections, “Winter Memories” paints scenes from Alexandra Bergsons long, dreary, bitter winter following the June departures of Emil Bergson and Carl Linstrum. First, Mrs. Lee, the mother of Alexandras estranged sister-in-law, comes to visit Alexandra for several weeks; Mrs. Lee enjoys Alexandras sensitivity to old Swedish traditions. Together, the …

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O Pioneers! – Part IV

Summary The novels climactic section, “The White Mulberry Tree” opens on a June afternoon, with Emil Bergsons return from a year-long stay in Mexico City. He accompanies his sister Alexandra to a supper and fair at the local Catholic church. Marie Shabata is there, as well. The two discover that their love has only grown …

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O Pioneers! – Part V

Summary On a stormy October evening three months after the murders of Emil Bergson and Marie Shabata, Signa sends Ivar in search of Alexandra, who has vanished into the storm. Ivar finds her alone, in the rain, at Emils grave. Her exposure to the storm induces exhaustion, and Alexandra must spend the next few days …

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