My Antonia

My Antonia “My Antonia,” by Willa Cather has many symbols through out the novel. Symbolism reflects her own views as a child through her life. Some of these symbols are Jim’s grandomother’s garden and snake-killing incident.

Jim’s grandomother’s garden made him fell as a part of nature, as human beings originally were in the Garden of Eden. When he came to the garden he would also wonder if people felt like this when they died and became a part of knowledge, goodness, sun and air.His maturity makes him feel how he really feels about Antonia. Jim was always afraid to tell Antonia how he felt about her. Ever since Jim laid eyes on her, he knew that she was the love of his life, but didn’t want to tell her because of the big difference of the social classes. Jim often wondered if Antonia could serve as a motherm friend, lover or sweetheart.

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In the garden Jim and Antonia would play around, work in the garden and picked potatos.The garden symbolizes the freedom that children enjoyed during the youth years. When the sanke-incident happens Antonia brags about how brave Jim was. Antonia exclaimed to Jim’s family, “He fight something awful! He is all over Jimmy’s boots. I scream for him to run, but he jsut hit an hit that snake like he was crazy.

(Page 33).At this point Jim realizes that Antonia was more that a friend but Antonia sees him more like a little brother especially since he is four years younger than him. Work can also be another symbol in the term that Antonia worked hard in the farm. “Her neck came up strongly out of her shoulders, like the hole of a tree out of the turf” Cather emphasizes. Antonia goal was to prove her mother that she can work as well as Ambrosch leads her to compete with the men plowing and to pick up masculine traits that overshadow her feminity.

Antonia would always work hard in the fields and people knew she was a hard worker. This symbol of work showes how she does not give up even though she is a girl.Through out the novel symbolism is often used in every chapter. Willa Cather often used symbolism portaining to Jim and Antonia. Willa Cather thought that using symbolism would bring more meaning to the novel.

My Antonia

My Antonia Author: Willa Sibert Cather, Nebraska’s most noted author was born in Virginia. At the age of ten she moved with her family to Webster County, Nebraska. Many of Cather’s acquaintances and Red Cloud area scenes can be recognized in her writings. Cather wrote poetry, short stories, essays and novels, winning many awards.

In 1920 she won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel One of Ours, about a Nebraska farm boy who went off to World War I.Willa Cather’s reputation as one of America’s finest novelists rests on her novels about Nebraska and the American Southwest. These novels express her deep love of the land and her distaste for the materialism and conformism of modern life. Devoted to values such as the importance of family and the need for human courage and dignity, she created strong female characters whose sort of strength and determination had previously been attributed to only men. My Antonia, one of Cather’s best works, is an unconventional, romantic novel of prairie life. It tells the story of a remarkable woman whose strength and passion epitomize the pioneer spirit.

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Characters: Jim Burden – The man narrating the story. Antonia Shimerda -The daughter of Bohemian immigrants and the heroine of the story. Ambrosch Shimerda – Antonia’s mean brother Marek Shimerda -Antonia’s mentally disabled brother. Yulka Shimerda – Antonia’s younger sister. Mr. and Mrs.

Shimerda – Antonia’s gently father who committed suicide, and her bitter, complaining mother.Larry Donovan – The man Antonia thought was going to marry her. Lena Lingard – A girl that Jim grew up with and was successful. Anton Cuzak – Antonia’s husband. The Book The book begins with an introduction. In the introduction it tells about James Quale Burden (Jim Burden) and how the story came to be written.The introduction is written by a woman who is an old friend to Jim and who grew up in the same Nebraska town as he did. They are both now living in New York where Jim is a successful lawyer.

She tells about Jim’s wife, Genevieve, who she does not like, and doesn’t think she is well suited for Jim. They start talking about Antonia, who they both knew and admired, and wondering why something wasn’t written about her. Months later, Jim brings her what he had written and She writes the narrative as Jim had written it. The story begins with ten year old Jim Burden traveling from Virginia to Nebraska to live with his grandparents after losing his parents.They live on a prairie farm and Jim enjoys the land and doing chores and being with his grandparents and their hired help.

The author shows her love of the land by the way she has Jim to describe it: “The new country lay open before me: there were no fences in those days, and I could choose my own way over the grass uplands, trusting my pony to get me home again. . . .

I used to love to drift along the pale-yellow cornfields, looking for the damp spots one sometimes found at their edges, where the smartweed soon turned a rich copper colour and the narrow brown leaves hung curled like cocoons about the swollen joints of the stem. Sometimes I went south to visit our German neighbours and to admire their catalpa grove, or to see the big elm tree that grew up out of a deep crack in the earth and had a hawk’s nest in its branches” He soon met the Bohemian immigrants, the Shimerdas, who had come out on the same train as he had. He soon became friends with their daughter, Antonia, whom he thought was very pretty. “I remember what the conductor said about her eyes. They were big and brown and full of light, like the sun shining on brown pools in the wood.Her skin was brown too, and in her cheeks she had a glow of rich, dark color.” The Shirmadas had been conned into buying their place.

They lived in a dingy, dirt floor cave and were very poor. They didn’t speak English. Jim started teaching Antonia English, and she was a good learner.

Antonia’s father felt that he couldn’t deal with the strains of his new life and support his family so he committed suicide. She is forced to do the work of a man and turns from a gentle young lady into a man, in some ways. The elements of fun in her childhood were few and far in between.’Antonia’s life is full of disappointment and she is forced to grow up much too quickly. The road she takes is full of ditches and bends but it clears and straightens in the end.

As soon as her father is buried, Antonia realizes that she now has a heavy burden on her shoulders. Since she is one of the eldest in the family, she must now work to put food on their table. Her mother is a complainer and can’t speak English, her oldest brother, Ambrosch, is strong, mean and not well liked, the second oldest brother, Marek, is mentally and physically disabled and her sister, Yulka, is still a youngster.With the help of their neighbors, the Burdens, ‘Antonia is able to establish a meager living for her family. She does this by working on her farm as well as the other farms in the area. While this work is very beneficial for the family, ‘Antonia is turned into a rough and wild creature.

When she is old enough, ‘Antonia leaves the prairies and goes in to town to find work. She becomes what we would call today, a live-in housekeeper. She works hard and sends all of her wages home to help her mother and siblings on the farm. The hours were long and the breaks few so when she did get to go out, ‘Antonia and her friends create quite a reputation for themselves. She somehow gets mixed up with the wrong crowd and slowly begins to lose the honor and respect she worked so hard to gain.’Antonia leaves to marry a ” no-good ” and comes home alone, sorrowful and dejected. Her fiance had told her that they had been married but then ran off without her.

‘Antonia later gives birth to a girl, the illegitimate child of this supposed marriage. She takes great pride in her daughter but with her birth, she loses whatever respect she had left. Years later, ‘Antonia is found in Hastings, Nebraska, married with eleven children. Her dream has come true, to have land of her own and many delightful little children running wild all over the place. She works hard and is weary but has been repaid as her wish has been fulfilled.She has her land, her family, her garden and she still has the fire of life within her.

‘Antonia’s life was a difficult one. The burdens that she had to carry were not meant for her shoulders. All through her life’s difficulties she remained devoted to whatever family she had.

Thoughts of her family always came before thoughts of herself. “She lent herself to immemorial human attitudes which we recognize by instinct as universal and true.. . She was a battered woman now, not a lovely girl; but she still had that something which fires the imagination, could still stop one’s breath for a moment by a look or gesture that somehow revealed the meaning in common things.

She had only to stand in the orchard, to put her hand on a little crab tree and look up at the apples, to make you feel the goodness of planting and tending and harvesting at last. All the strong things of her heart came out in her body, that had been so tireless in serving generous emotions.” Jim Burden makes an important sociological observation when he notes that the town boys admire the Bohemian girls, but won’t marry them; while the hard-working Bohemian women help to make their farms profitable, and the “refined’ town girls don’t.He then lives out this observation by marrying ‘well’, a woman whose wealth and family connections help establish him in business (as marrying Antonia would not – would, in fact, have prevented him from ever achieving the status he has acquired at the beginning of the book), but who brings him neither happiness nor children.

Antonia, in spite of her difficulties with her family and her first attempt at marriage, does achieve a real and satisfactory life. Comments When I finished this book, I realized how many lessons I had learned about life. For instance, life may be hard but it’s the hard times that make us stronger. It is a wonderful story of a strong woman who builds a great life out of a bad situation.

My Antonia

My Antonia Sheena Dawkins My Antonia: Summary Ms. Jackson October 2, 2000 My Antonia: Summary My Antonia was written by Willa Cather in 1918.

The story stars out with a young boy named Jim Burden. E travels by cross- country train to live with his grandparents at the age of ten. His grandparents live on the Nebraska frontier.

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He has just recently lost both of his parents, and he is accompanied by a farm hand named Jake. On the same train is a bohemian family that can barley speak English.They are going to the same place. When Jim reaches the station he is greeted by Otto Fuchs, an Austrian desperado cowboy. Soon Jim goes to meet the bohemians that were on the train with him.

Jim meets Mr. Shimerda, an educated musician; Mrs.Shimerda, a very complaining and demanding woman; the oldest son Ambrosch, who is stubborn; Marek, a mentally challenged boy; and Yulka, a young and pretty girl. The oldest daughter is named Antonia.

Antonia and Jim instantly become friends, and they spend a lot of time together. Jim also tries to teach her English. The Burdens try to help out the Shimerdas as much as they can, because the Shimerdas are not doing so well in the new country. Summer passes, and soon winter comes. Jim gets very sick, and Pavel (one of the French guys that befriend the Shimerdas) dies after unburdening his heart with a horrible story from his past.Mr. Shimerda becomes depressed after Peter moves away. The Burdens celebrate Christmas and make presents for each other since they cannot get into town to buy some.

In the middle of the biggest snowstorms in ten years, Mr. Shimerda shoots himself after arranging himself neatly in the barn.Jake suspects that Krajiek killed him, but nothing is ever proven. Jim is left in the house by himself some days afterwards, and he senses that Mr. Shimerdas spirit resting on his way back to his homeland. Mr.Shimerda is buried at the corner of his property.

After the funeral the Burdens and other neighbors make a big effort to help out the Shimerdas.Antonia gives up going to school and starts to farm. Jim is resentful that she does not spend as much time with him.

The Shimerdas and the Burdens get into a little feud because of Ambroschs bad behavior. The Shimerdas do not act very grateful for the help they are receiving from their neighbors. After about three years, Jims grandparents move to the town of Black Hawk so that Jim can go to school.Antonia also comes to town so that she can work for the Harlings in their home. Jim spends a lot of time with the Harling children and Antonia.

Antonia begins to go dancing all of the time because it is the craze in town. When the Harlings tell her to stop going because it is giving her a bad reputations she quits and starts working for Wick Cutter a notorious philanderer. Jim begins to be antisocial and will only spend time with Antonia and the other hired girls.He studies a lot in preparation for college, and wants to leave Black Hawk as soon as possible. Jim goes to a college called Lincoln.

He becomes very close with his Latin instructor Gaston Cleric. One day Lena Lingard, one of the hired girls comes to visit him, and they start going to plays together. Gaston notices that Jim is slacking off in his work and asks him to go to Harvard with him. Jim agrees to go.Two years later, before entering law school, Jim returns to Black Hawk, where he hears about Antonias pregnancy and engagement to Larry Donovan.

She followed him to Denver, but he ran off soon after she arrived. She returned to her familys farm where she had her child, avoided people, and worked on the land. Jim goes to visit her and tells her how much she means to him. Jim promises to return again to visit.Jim does not return until twenty years later after finding out that Antonia had gotten married to Anton Cuzak, and now has about ten or eleven children. When he arrives on the Cuzack farm, he is greeted by many of her children. Antonia doesnt immediately recognize him, but is very excited when she does. Jim is happy to see Antonia doing so well, and sleeps in the farm with two of the boys.

The next day he meets Cuzack, who was away on a vacation. Jim likes him immediately. The next day Jim leaves.He then returns to Black Hawk for a day. There he finds the old dirt road that used o go to his grandparents farm, and he thinks about how that road was the road of Destiny and how now he has returned full circle back to where he started. Bibliography studen, goes to school. m=nie person English Essays.


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