S-Space Researcher Institutes (연구소) American Studies Institute (미국학연구소) 미국학 미국학 Volume 34 Number 1/2 (2011)
『오 개척자들!』에 나타난 새로운 여성정체성의 문제
Women's Property Rights and the problem of Identity in O Pioneers!
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 미국학연구소
- 미국학, Vol.34 No.2, pp. 1-33
- 소유적 개인주의(Possessive individualism),; 새로운 여성 정체성(New women identity); 공동체(Community); 공감적 이해(Sympathetic understanding); 토지 공유(Earth as a common property)
- According to the possessive individualism which strongly influenced the ideology of the American Revolution and Westward Expansion, property is an inalienable human right which society is made to protect. From this point of view, human relationship is a competitive and aggressive one. In O Pioneers!, Cather depicts a woman pioneer named Alexandra who grows to be a successful land owner through her intelligence, hard labour and creative ideas. Her proprietorship made it possible for her to lead a free, independent and strong way of life, which differentiate her from the Victorian ideal of women, ‘an angel in the house’. What makes her an important heroine of American literary history is that she overcomes selfish boundary of individualism which defines that individual enters relations only for interests and human society is consisted of series of market relations. She succeeds in her role as the supporter of the family. Her sympathetic understanding of neighborhood enables her to support who are in need of help. She takes care of people who are craving for love and economic supports. In the end, her sympathy toward the community leads her to think that the earth is the common property of humanity as Henry George insisted. She concludes that it is not fair for a person to own certain land eternally as a private property. Cather says that the land could be owned only for an instant by person who understand and work on it and that it could never be under the exclusive ownership of a single person. Alexandra shows Cather’s ideal pioneer who liberates whole community by her sympathetic understanding of others and sharing of what she has.