Diploma Thesis from the year 2001 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: Sehr gut, University of Vienna, 115 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: America's collective memory rests on mythic regions: the planter's South, the Puritan's East, and the pioneer's West. It is the latter which covers a genuinely American experience. For almost three hundred years the westward expansion determined the nation's thought and action. Millions of pioneers were pouring into the Great West. By settling the country those people brought civilization to the wilderness. Their efforts at cultivating the virgin land helped to transform the prairie region into an agricultural empire. The pioneer age had a great influence on American history and its spirit was a vital factor in the formation of the national character. The effects of the frontier heritage are still strongly felt in American society and culture. As one of the three mythic regions, the pioneer's West forms an integral part of America's identity today. Willa Cather made her contribution to it in literature. Often regarded as among the best imaginative accounts of frontier life in American letters, O Pioneers! (1913), My Ántonia (1918), and A Lost Lady (1923) demonstrate Cather's poetic responses to the prairie West. These three novels illustrate her adaptation of the pioneering theme to the Great Plains region and reveal her preoccupation with history, memory, and identity on a national, regional, and individual scale. Their stories reflect her creative use of the popular myth of the frontier and the literary figure of the pioneer. As a rule, the novelist presents pioneer characters against a Nebraska background and places them at the centre of collective and private conflicts. Her artistic imagination turns to aspects usually left out from celebrations of the frontier experience in the rural West.