Don’t judge the book by its cover. This phrase is an expression which means to direct someone to open their eyes and focus on the deeper aspects of the facts. In other words, it means that don’t judge anything by their first impression because something it is not what you think. Same as the story of “Neighbor Rosicky” by Willa Cather in 1928. At the first time when I read the story, it is a short story about a farmer and his family which is nothing interested for me. However, after I read it times by times and put my attention to concentrate on the facts of the story. It made me realize of something much more than the story of a farmer and his family. I’m really impression on the historical context of this story. If we read this story without concern about the political and economic conditions during a current of time and place, this story would be something meaningless for all of the readers. The author had point out the political and economic problem of Americans by used several different techniques to convey the secret messages through the story. The three main points of the historical background in this story are the farming crisis, materialism and multiculturalism.
The most fundamental point of the historical background in this story is the farming crisis. The story of “Neighbor Rosicky” was contained in the one of Willa Cather collections, Obscure Destinies in 1932. However, from my research I found that Cather wrote this story in 1928 which related to the economic condition of Americans. Because in 1929, it was the Stock Market Crash which put every country into the Great Depression, the worst economic depression in American history. However, before that time the economy of the country was perfectly fine, everything was fit to each other, except for the American farmers. After World war I, due to the new law of European market, American farmers could not sell their products especially the wheat which is farmer main products to the European market which caused them to an economic crisis before the Great depression. According to the story of “Neighbor Rosicky”, Cather shown that Rosicky is a farmer who planted wheat, alfalfa and other products for earning money to support his family. However, at the end of the story, it shown that Rosicky was more concerned about his alfalfa fields rather than his wheat fields. In this way, it tended to show that the wheat is no longer his main products as an economic crisis and the price of wheat has rapidly fallen down. The author wants to noticed the farming crisis to the readers by Rosicky’s illustration through this story.
The historical background of this story is not just only the farming crisis, but the author also mentioned about the materialism. In 1920s, it was the time of the materialism culture. Cather observed the roots of American materialism culture, she criticizes the materialism culture by comparing the attitudes of two characters which are Rosicky and his neighbors. She clearly mentioned in the story that Rosicky was not the heartless pursuit money. In the story of “Neighbor Rosicky”, it all started with The Czech farmer named Anton Rosicky went to Dr. Ed Burleigh’s office and consult about his bad heart and later the doctor thinking about the inequality life of people because Rosicky is a hardworking man which can considered from his hardworking that he is wealth enough. However, the doctor realized that he was wrong about Rosicky. Throughout the story, Rosicky didn’t want to become a wealthy man but he much more enjoys his simple life. He doesn’t want to has a life in a big city like other people. On the other hand, he just wants to achieved his dream by owning a land and stay with his family working as a farmer. In here it shown that although wealth is the proportion of human life. But in the reality, money has nothing to do with our human life.