Born in a small Colorado town, Thea Kronborg’s aspirations to be a famed musician makes it difficult for her to fit in. With the reputation of being different and strange, Thea has a challenging time getting along with her siblings and peers, though her mother and Aunt are supportive of her dreams. When Thea’s piano instructor is run out of town over a scandal, Thea takes over his business at age fifteen. She is also forced by her father to play the organ at their church because he believes this new devotion to a job would make her less pious. Despite her new jobs and outlet for her musical ability, Thea feels unsatisfied in Colorado, but when tragedy strikes, she finally gets an opportunity to chase her dreams. After the death of a local conductor that had been enamored by her, Thea inherits enough money to pursue a formal music education in Chicago. During her piano training, and with the help of some of her Chicago friends and mentors, Thea realizes that she has an impressive singing voice. After feeling inspired by a visit to the orchestra, Thea decides to pursue a career as an opera singer. With a new dream and drive, Thea struggles to achieve her goals without compromising her values and independence.
Willa Cather’s The Song of the Lark breaks the conventions of its time with the depiction of an independent woman protagonist with aspirations outside of the home. Cather also challenged the typical depiction of small-town country life by presenting realities such as the common uniformity and intolerance sometimes expressed within rural communities. The Song of the Lark remains to be a fascinating look into 19th-century rural life, with an unadulterated view on the journey of an artist.
This edition of The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather is accommodating to a contemporary audience with a modern font and stunning new cover design.