O Pioneers!

O Pioneers!


Willa Cather

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White Mulberry Tree Symbol Icon
The white mulberry tree is a species nonnative to Nebraska, just like the homesteaders who arrive from foreign countries. It is known for being a short-lived species, reflecting the brevity of Emil and Marie’s relationship. Its coloring reflects the innocence of the young love that blooms beneath its branches, and the blood that eventually stains the fruit represents the destructive passion that brings their lives to an end. The mulberry tree also alludes to Ovid’s tragic tale of Pyramus and Thisbe, another young couple that meets a violent end beneath a white mulberry’s branches.

White Mulberry Tree Quotes in O Pioneers!

The O Pioneers! quotes below all refer to the symbol of White Mulberry Tree. 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
Part 2, Chapter 8 Quotes

“The Bohemians, you know, were tree worshipers before the missionaries came. Father says the people in the mountains still do queer things, sometimes,--they believe that trees bring good or bad luck.”

Related Characters: Marie Shabata (speaker)
Related Symbols: Land, White Mulberry Tree
Page Number: 102
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire O Pioneers! LitChart as a printable PDF.
O Pioneers! PDF

White Mulberry Tree Symbol Timeline in O Pioneers!

The timeline below shows where the symbol White Mulberry Tree appears in O Pioneers!. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2, Chapter 6
Power of the Land Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...Alexandra suggests that they sit in the orchard instead. They head to Marie’s spot under the white mulberry tree , and Marie insists that Alexandra take the seat on the wagon so that she... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 8
Power of the Land Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Pioneering and Immigration Theme Icon
When Emil reaches Marie, she is sitting beneath the white mulberry tree with the cherries beside her. She tells Emil about the Bohemian belief that certain trees... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 6
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Self-sacrifice vs. Temptation Theme Icon
...is empty, but Emil only wants to be reminded of Marie, so he heads to the white mulberry tree in the orchard. When he reaches the tree, he finds Marie napping on her side,... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 8
Power of the Land Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
In the orchard, the white mulberries are covered with a dark stain. Emil had been shot in the heart and died... (full context)