By Willa Cather
No romantic novel ever written in the USA . . . is one part so appealing as My Ántonia.” H. L. Mencken
Widely well-known as Willa Cather’s maximum novel, My Ántonia is a soulful and wealthy portrait of a pioneer woman’s uncomplicated but heroic existence. The lively daughter of Bohemian immigrants, Ántonia needs to adapt to a troublesome life at the desolate prairies of the Midwest.
Enduring early life poverty, teenage seduction, and kinfolk tragedy, she finally turns into a spouse and mom on a Nebraska farm. A fictional checklist of ways ladies helped forge the groups that shaped a kingdom, My Ántonia is usually a hauntingly eloquent party of the power, braveness, and spirit of America’s early pioneers.
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Additional info for My Ántonia (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Yet because this statement comes after a twenty-year separation, and because it is not spoken to Ɠntonia, it only serves to underscore the unconsummated state of their romance. An intimacy quickly springs up between Jim and Antonia shortly after they arrive in the farming region outside Black Hawk. Ɠntonia plays the immigrant eager to succeed in her adopted country and, in the first scene between them, she impatiently asks Jim to teach her English. Jim, all but ten, readily complies; after all, he is completely captivated by her brown eyes, which are 舠big and warm and full of light, like the sun shining on brown pools in the wood舡 (p.
In response, the narrator draws attention to the distinction between their male and female perspectives: I told him that how he knew her and felt her was exactly what I most wanted to know about Antonia. He had had opportunities that I, as a little girl who watched her come and go, had not (p. 5). On one level, the narrator is simply trying to reassure Jim that there is nothing wrong with writing about himself in the process of remembering Antonia, but Cather also seems to be offering an indirect justification for adopting a male persona in her novel.
You really are a part of me (p. 192). In response, Antonia wonders, How can it be like that, when you know so many people, and when I舗ve disappointed you so? Ain舗t it wonderful, Jim, how much people can mean to each other? I舗m so glad we had each other when we were little. I can舗t wait till my little girl舗s old enough to tell her about all the things we used to do. You舗ll always remember me when you think about old times, won舗t you? (p. 192). Once again, Cather keeps the two companions curiously beyond each other, while simultaneously insisting on their intimacy.