Lou, the Prophet

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Lou, the Prophet is a short story by Willa Cather. It was first published in The Hesperian in 1892.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

At twenty-two, Lou manages his own homestead. Despite working very hard, he comes upon a series of mishaps - his beloved marries a richer man, he loses his cattle, his mother dies, and his corn does not grow. He grows depressed but starts reading the Book of Revelation and takes up praying. He comes upon several Danish boys and tells them they need to pray too. They show him their secret hiding place. He then goes into town and prays in public; passers-by ask after the sheriff to stop him and he runs away into the children's hiding place. Finally he goes off down South, and is never found again. It is believed he drowned in a river and was eaten up by quicksand, though the children believed his spirit is still around.

Characters[edit]

  • Lou, an immigrant from Denmark, who has been in the West for seven years. He is twenty-two. He is 'weak-headed'.
  • Nelse Sorenson's daughter. Lou was supposed to marry her but she married his cousin instead because his cattle died in the winter.
  • Lou's mother, she dies a short time after he gets jilted by his beloved.
  • several Danish boys, whom Lou confides in about God.

Allusions to other works[edit]

Literary significance and criticism[edit]

  • It has been argued that Lou, the Prophet reappeared in O Pioneers!, with Crazy Ivar.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Willa Cather's Collected Short Fiction, University of Nebraska Press; Rev Ed edition, 1 Nov 1970, page 540
  2. ^ Willa Cather's Collected Short Fiction, University of Nebraska Press; Rev Ed edition, 1 Nov 1970, 'Introduction' by Mildred R. Bennett, page xxvii

External links[edit]