I could probably start every reminder post for the Willa Cather Short Story Project with the words, “How is it [insert month] already?” Welp, here we are in August!
Our story this month is, “The Way of the World.” Read it over on the Willa Cather Archive: https://cather.unl.edu/writings/shortfiction/ss036
“The Way of the World” was published in the April 1898 edition of The Home Monthly, the magazine Cather had edited.
There is an epigraph poem that sets up the tone for the story to come.
O! the world was full of the summer time,(“The Way of the World” | Willa Cather Archive)
And the year was always June,
When we two played together
In the days that were done too soon.
O! every hand was an honest hand,
And every heart was true.
When you were the king of the corn-lands
And I was a queen with you.
When I could believe in the fairies still,
And our elf in the cotton-wood tree,
And the pot of gold at the rainbow’s end
And you could believe in me.
It sounds like we’re in for a bittersweet story. The title itself is a bit ominous. Although I haven’t read “The Way of the World,” I have read that the action takes place in a play town. As a child in Red Cloud, Nebraska, Cather and some friends had created a miniature town in her backyard called Sandy Point.
Read “The Way of the World” sometime this month and then come back to discuss it on the response post I’ll share on August 24th, the fourth Wednesday of the month. Or, feel free to read it now and comment here if you can’t wait until then!
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 second Wednesday of the month and then share a response on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Jump in anytime!