O Pioneers!

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Amédée Chevalier Character Analysis

Amédée, a light-hearted French boy, is Emil’s best friend. Amédée is slight of figure, graceful, and constantly joking around. He is very happily married to Angélique, and they have a newborn son he dotes on. However, he dies, suddenly, of appendicitis. His death prompts Emil and Marie to come together.

Amédée Chevalier Quotes in O Pioneers!

The O Pioneers! quotes below are all either spoken by Amédée Chevalier or refer to Amédée Chevalier. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Power of the Land Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of O Pioneers! published in 1994.
Part 2, Chapter 9 Quotes

He and Amédée had ridden and wrestled and larked together since they were lads of twelve…It seemed strange that now he should have to hide the thing that Amédée was so proud of, that the feeling which gave one of them such happiness should bring the other such despair. It was like that when Alexandra tested her seed-corn in the spring, he mused. From two ears that had grown side by side, the grains of one shot up joyfully into the light, projecting themselves into the future, and the grains from the other lay still in the earth and rotted, and nobody knew why.

Related Characters: Alexandra Bergson, Emil Bergson, Amédée Chevalier
Related Symbols: Land
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

Carl and Emil have gone to a Catholic fair in the French country; here, they have encountered Emil's best friend, Amédée, who is newly married. Amédée is very happy, and has advised Emil to marry as well, but Emil has responded that he has no one to marry. However, a few moments later he catches Marie's eye as she looks on with jealousy (when he is teasing Amédée's wife flirtatiously). In this passage, Emil reflects on the divergence between himself and Amédée. Although as boys they were inseparable, there is now a stark difference between them––Amédée is happily and proudly married, whereas Emil must keep his love for Marie a secret and cannot marry her.

Emil's comparison of his and Amédée's friendship to the two ears of corn once again highlights the significance of nature as a parallel to the social lives of the characters in the novel. Like the workings of nature, human relationships are mysterious and unpredictable. Although the image of the rotting corn is deeply sad, Emil's analogy suggests he has accepted the fact that his tragic romantic fate is beyond his control. Like plants in the natural world, not all people are able to thrive and "project themselves into the future." Some are left behind and suffer, for reasons that we will never know. 

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Amédée Chevalier Character Timeline in O Pioneers!

The timeline below shows where the character Amédée Chevalier appears in O Pioneers!. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2, Chapter 1
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Pioneering and Immigration Theme Icon
...Emil finishes his mowing. On the ride home, Marie chats about the upcoming wedding of Amédée and Angélique, urging Emil to dance with all the French girls so that their feelings... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 9
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...from a ball game and are still wearing their uniforms. Emil’s best friend, the newlywed Amédée, has pitched particularly well, and Emil tells him that he’s pitching even better than he... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Amédée challenges Emil to a high jump contest, which Emil wins. Angélique, Amédée’s wife, tells Emil... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 1
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Pioneering and Immigration Theme Icon
When they arrive at the church, Amédée, now a new father, rushes out to embrace Emil. He tells Emil how wonderful it... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Self-sacrifice vs. Temptation Theme Icon
Amédée calls to Emil and tells him that they are planning to play a joke on... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Self-sacrifice vs. Temptation Theme Icon
Amédée turns out the lights, and Marie starts up into Emil’s arms, where she doesn’t have... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 4
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...her side. Emil arrives for a visit, and Angélique directs him to the field, where Amédée is cutting wheat. She mentions that Amédée has been sick, but she doesn’t sound too... (full context)
Dignity of Work Theme Icon
Self-sacrifice vs. Temptation Theme Icon
Pioneering and Immigration Theme Icon
Emil recognizes Amédée on the wheatfield, directing a team of horses. He feels a pang of admiration for... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 5
Power of the Land Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Frank learns about Amédée’s illness when he returns from work in the evening and goes off to the saloon.... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Self-sacrifice vs. Temptation Theme Icon
...room and tells him that she hadn’t wanted to wake him when they phoned—but that Amédée died at three o’clock that morning. (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 6
Power of the Land Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
At Church on Saturday, the activity is split between mourning for Amédée and preparing for a confirmation service for a class of one hundred boys and girls.... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...Frank Shabata has come alone, without Marie. Emil turns and enters the church, sitting in Amédée’s empty pew. During Mass, Emil tortures himself with questions about Marie, wondering at her absence.... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Self-sacrifice vs. Temptation Theme Icon
...is affected by his friend’s death, though he feels no horror as he rides past Amédée’s grave—that, too, seems beautiful to him. He realizes that he is riding to say goodbye... (full context)