Choices Affect More than Just the Choice Maker in Willa Cather’s My Antonia

Good Essays

Whether good or bad, decisions make a significant impact on a person’s experience. A common mistake a person can make when it comes to making decisions is their choice only affects them. In reality, decisions not only affect the decision maker, but those who are connected to them. In Willa Cather’s My Antonia, a choice to end their life by their own hands causes the one person who is closest to the deceased to make decisions based on their choice. “Things would have been very different with poor Antonia if her father had lived” (Cather 76). In chapter fourteen of “The Shimerdas,” Antonia’s father, Mr. Shimerda, commits suicide. While Mr. Shimerda untimely death causes anguish to his family and friends, his death adversely affects Antonia the most. Things can be a vague word that can have an array of meanings. In this context, “things” represents circumstance and situation (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 1299). For Jim Burden’s grandmother, “would have been very different with poor Antonia if her father had lived,” is her wish to preserve Antonia’s experiences before Mr. Shimereda’s death or at the very least, a desire to modify her experiences (Cather 76). Antonia faced hardships before her father’s death, however, the severity of her situations increased after his death. Jim’s grandmother believes Mr. Shimerda’s decision to end his life is the reason behind Antonia’s circumstances throughout the novel; otherwise, Antonia’s life would have been filled with

Get Access