O Pioneers!

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O Pioneers! Part 2, Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
It’s a busy time on the farm, and Alexandra doesn’t find time to visit her neighbor’s for the next couple of days. She spends the days working on the farms and her evenings talking with Carl. On Wednesday morning, Carl rises early to walk to the crest of the hill where the Bergson pasture joins the one that used to belong to his father. He sits and waits for the sun to rise, remembering the way Alexandra used to look when they did their milking together.
Carl admires the sunrise while reflecting on Alexandra, showing that he associates Alexandra with the land and nature. He still remembers their time as children together fondly, and those memories sustain him and strengthen his sense of a bond to Alexandra.
Themes
Power of the Land Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Carl crosses over the fence and into the Shabatas’ pasture, toward the pond. He discovers, however, that he’s not alone. Below him, Emil and Marie advance cautiously towards the pond, hoping to hunt some ducks. When Emil manages to shoot a few, however, Marie’s face crumples. She says that Ivar’s right about wild things—that they’re too happy to kill. Emil assents and apologizes that he made Marie feel bad. Witnessing this exchange from a distance, Carl feels unreasonably mournful. He decides he needs his breakfast.
Marie becomes upset, realizing that the ducks are too free to be killed for recreation, though it’s their very wildness that endangers them by making them feel that they will not be hurt. From afar, Carl can sense the connection between Emil and Marie, and he’s unsure why he feels mournful. It may be because he senses that Emil and Marie don’t understand where their attraction might lead them—like the birds, they don’t truly believe that they can be hurt.
Themes
Power of the Land Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Self-sacrifice vs. Temptation Theme Icon