Willa Cather’s short story, Neighbour Rosicky, is one of the most discussed novels worldwide. The life of the characters is based in the 20th century, which possesses its own distinguishing qualities. Even though Neighbour Rosicky is set in a specific timeline, one could still wonder about the consequences of the setting’s change to a more contemporary time. This work will consider the influence of such transitions on the scenes involving Rosicky in parts one and four, as well as describe the journey of Goodman Brown and Rip Van Winkle.
The short story of Rosicky’s life starts with the grim news delivered by doctor Burleigh. The doctor states that his patient is suffering from a bad heart and is supposed to cease any activities connected to difficult labor and exclude several harmful products, such as coffee and tobacco (Cather, 1989). If this situation’s setting were to change to the 21st century, Burleigh would have been able to provide his patient with effective treatment, from prescription pills to advanced surgical techniques (Triedman & Newburger, 2016). Modern medicine presents people of various social standing with viable therapeutical options, which can prolong their lives.
The scene between Rosicky’s son Rudolph and the son’s wife, Polly, is one of this novel’s positive moments. Rosicky offers his son the family car to provide Polly with good entertainment for that evening (Cather, 1989). The main characters are supposed to watch a movie show in the nearby town, which might have been the same even if the setting of this scene was more contemporary. However, it is possible that in the modern age, the couple could have watched the movie from inside their home, thus leaving the car available for the young boys (Kubincanek, 2020). Overall, the technological advancements of modern time allow for an increased amount of spare time activities, making it easier to compromise.
Hawthorne’s Goodman Brown and Irving’s Rip Van Winkle are two exceptionally famous characters in literature. Young Goodman Brown is depicted as a person who lost all ambitions for a better life after a traumatic accident (Hawthorne, 2005). His desire to lead a happy life is demolished by a premonition, which might have been only a figure of his imagination (Hawthorne, 2005). As for Rip Van Winkle, a similar outcome is described in the short story: lack of determination to achieve stable results in the loss of twenty years of his existence (Irving & Glassman, 1987). In conclusion, both characters are presented as passive and idle, unwilling to put effort into a particular task.
The two stories discussed also demonstrate several distinguishing qualities. First of all, Hawthorne’s Goodman Brown possesses a strikingly different backstory. The reason behind his inertness lies in his inability to cope with a dramatic event in his life, slowly pushing him towards madness (Hawthorne, 2005). In the end, the man perceives everything around him as drastically dishonest and evil (Hawthorne, 2005). On the other hand, Rip Van Winkle was suffering from an accident that caused him to miss twenty years of his life (Irving & Glassman, 1987). This character’s traits remain the same, while the environment around him changes completely. By the end of the journey, Rip Van Winkle becomes significantly older and lacks an understanding of his hometown (Irving & Glassman, 1987). Altogether, striking differences between the two characters can be outlined in the two stories presented.
To conclude, the differences in the two-time settings were discussed in this essay. Additional treatment and entertainment options might have been available for the Neighbor Rosicky’s characters, influencing the relationships between them. Moreover, the two main heroes of the Hawthorne’s and Irwing’s stories were discussed, stating that these men might be similar in some regard. Nevertheless, some differences in their behavior and lifestyle outcomes are still present.
Cather, W. (1989). Neighbor Rosicky. Houghton Mifflin Company.
Hawthorne, N. (2005). Young Goodman Brown. Wildside Press.
Irving, W., & Glassman, P. (1987). Rip Van Winkle. HarperCollins.
Triedman, J. K. & Newburger, J. W. (2016). Trends in congenital heart disease. Circulation, 133(25), 2716–2733. Web.