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My Antonia by Willa Cather is a story about life on the prairie through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy named Jim. This story was published in 1918 even though the story takes place many years prior. My Antonia is a modernism novel that incorporates the movement of the immigrants to America. Jim meets Antonia during his journey from Virginia to his grandparents in Nebraska after the passing of his parents. Jim is filled with excitement as the story begins with Jim reading the story of Jesse James.
He believes that life out west will be full of gun slinging. Jim reflects about the Nebraska prairie difficulty and the uprooting to a new place after his parent’s death.
Jim learns quickly about life on the prairie and how the community comes to together. They the community works as a team to get by in their everyday lives. This new experience is different that the one he had had in Virginia were the land had already been settled and town have already been established.
Jim starts to recall his memory of autumn on the prairie. “The new country lay open before me; there were no fences in those days, and I could choose my own way over the grass up lands, trusting the pony to get me home again.’ This opens the mind of the reader to imagine the land without roads, building, barriers to hold us in one place. That in this day and time the world was free to roam.
If people back, then could see today at the changes that have been made they would be shocked at how far we came from having so little and so much room to expand.
The environment described is related to an emotion aspect of the characters. This is how they perceived the land around them. Like we do today. If it is a dreary day our emotions can play a part of how we see the world. Rain can make the world look dark and depressing making a person sad. A bright sunny day can bring you cheerfulness. Meeting Antonia in his life is the greatest thing for Jim. He would have someone to talk to and share his experiences with. Antonia is perceived as a shy quiet girl that loves learning new things. ‘Antonia loved to help grandmother in the kitchen and to learn about cooking and housekeeping. She would stand beside her, watching her every movement.
This shows the readers that Antonia didn’t have a mother figure to really teach her the things that women were raised to know in these days. Little boys would normally help their fathers with the farm (as would the girls to a point) and girls would learn from the mother the cooking, housekeeping, and to take care of the children. The characters in the novel are very optimistic about their lives and the changes in them. The whole role of telling the story is to keep the memories alive. They you can’t go back to the time and place, but you can always relive them with people that shared the memories and to give insight to a younger generation about the simplicity of live on a farm.
The refection of the story is that Jim and Antonia miss the Nebraska, but neither can go back to the town of Black hawk. But after twenty years Jim is going back to his roots. He has not seen Antonia is many years and it is that decision that he would like to see and reconnect with Antonia. This is the reflection Willa Cather wanted to you to see. The childhood she deeply missed. To view central American in a whole new light that what was seen at the time of the publication.
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