“A Tale of the White Pyramid.” March 2021 Reminder • Willa Cather Short Story Project

This is a reminder that our story for this month is, “A Tale of the White Pyramid.” You can read it on the Willa Cather Archive here — https://cather.unl.edu/writings/shortfiction/ss021 — and also see images of the story as it appeared in the December 22, 1892 edition of The Hesperian.

I know some folks don’t like to read stories online, me included; I like to underline passages and make comments in the margins. I’m fortunate to have a printer at home and have been printing the stories. This story, printed with generous margins and the two images that framed the story in The Hesperian, was just over five pages.

Themes

Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts about last month’s story, “Peter.” That story and the one before, “Lou, The Prophet,” both show Cather’s thematic interest in the tension between the past and the present. It’s pretty cool to see that this interest arose so early in her writing career. She imbeds some of the differences between past and present in the personalities of her characters. Christianity also plays a role in both stories and is more associated with the past at this point.

While those first two stories of Phase II were set in Nebraska, “A Tale of the White Pyramid” takes us to Egypt. I haven’t read the story yet and am curious to find out if it is Biblical in nature, symbolic, or more of an adventure/travel story.

What’s next?

Read “A Tale of the White Pyramid” sometime this month and then come back to discuss it on the response post I’ll have up on the morning of March 24th. Feel free to comment here if you can’t wait.


New to this blog? Learn more about the Willa Cather Short Story Project here. In a nutshell, we’re reading one Cather short story a month. I remind everyone of what story we’re reading on the first Wednesday of the month and then share a response on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Jump in anytime!



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