|Book I – The Shimerdas - Chapter XVI |
|Mr. Shimerda's funeral |
Mr. Shimerda's death is the first turning point in the novel.
Importance of religion and Biblical references.
Chapter XIV –page 82
Chapter XV – page 84
Willa Cather has chosen this particular section of the book to emphasize the importance of religion, and religious differences, among the immigrants. The flight of Mr. Shimerda's soul becomes a primary focus here. Unable to fetch a priest, the Shimerdas are greatly concerned with the dead man's salvation. Anton Jelinek, a fellow Bohemian, shares their concern,remembering his experiences with a priest during the war, during which he saved the souls of many dying men. Through the introduction of a fellow Bohemian, we see that these people are deeply religious and superstitious. The deep sadness that hangs over them comes from the prospect that Mr. Shimerda, without the comfort of the Holy Sacrament, will not have his soul saved.
Proposition de plan :
I/ Themeof death (funeral and mourning lexical field)
( à partir des mots du texte, relever les éléments de vocabulaire qui s'apparente au deuil, les éléments spatio-temporels qui y font référence ( l'hiver, la neige).
Lay dead - coffin – digging the grave – sobbed – her heart breaking – the Widow – burial – cave – black shawl – white muslim – black cloth (note the binary oppositions black/ white) – hishead bandaged (allusion to the mummy – a mummy is a corpse whose skin and organs have been preserved)
II/ Theme of religion
• The priest never showed up. Refusal to allow Mr Shimerda a peaceful rest for his soul.
• Tradition of the pioneers to get together in this wild country and to say prayers (long distances, isolation)
• Lexical field of religion : prayed – remiss – God – thyyour) judgment seat – thy mercy seat – he was praying – Amen a hymn – Jesus, Lover of My Soul – spirit.
The number five and the Crown of Thorns : many allusions to the symbolism of Jesus's crucifixion, to Christianity in that land in the middle of nowhere where the people are shared with both hope and despair.
Mr Shimerda is dentified as a martyr. “ sagging wire fence around it”.
FIVE: thenumber five means the middle, the centre, the symbol of the universe (3+2), first number representing the sum of 2 and 3. At the crossing of 4 elements where you include the centre.
1 5 2
In China ( five senses, five tastes, five planets, five continents, five colors, five elements (earth, water, fire, wood, metal).
Mr Shimerda is buried at the corner of their lot where a crossroads may bebuilt. The image of the cross, of course becomes implicit with the crossroads over the body. It would serve to take place of the priest who never came. Grandfather Burden's prediction came true. The crossroads over Mr Shimerda's grave were never built. The grave remained untouched which Jim attributes to God's kindness. Mr Shimerda is refered to as the “sleeper”. (but not a dead man)
•Binary oppositions in the text :
black cloth / white muslim
north / south (l. 100 – 104)
• Metaphor of the snow : … eddying snow, like long veils flying” l.92
III/ Very poetic text and elements of narratology : section lines – the sentence – the surveyed lines.
(La poésie du texte peut faire l'objet d'une troisième partie)
|EXPLICATION DE TEXTES N°5|
|BOOK II THE HIRED GIRLS |
|Chapter 1 to chapter 5 |
Landmarks. What happens in these...