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My Antonia by Villa Cather Essay

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My Antonia is a classic story originally published in 1918 by Willa Cather. Cather was a famous author in the early-mid 1900s, placing her work in an era of a formal, illustrative, sophisticated writing style. She wrote numerous books about life on the great plains, where she was born and raised. She received many awards for her artistic novels throughout her lifetime. She died in 1947, and the public continues to praise her work almost a century after its publishing date. Her free-spirited writing has been an icon ever since her books started to reach the shelves. All of the main characters in My Antonia are thoughtful, intelligent people, though not necessarily in terms of school or knowledge. Jim Burden, the story’s narrator, is a…show more content…
Jim’s relationship with Antonia shapes him as a character and provides him with the tools to grow from a child to a young adult. My Antonia is a philosophical story, with dream-like ideas everywhere you look. Even with all these ideas and feelings floating around, the book’s main idea was clearly the transition from childhood to adulthood. At ten years old, Jim Burden moved to the plains of Black Hawk, Nebraska. His parents had died of an outbreak, and Jim had to be sent to his father’s parents’ farm. In his new home, he meets a Bohemian girl named Antonia, a free-spirited, lively, unique personality. He falls in love with her, and although his feelings are not returned, he and Antonia become great friends. The book has numerous examples of traditional obstacles that a person their age goes through, along additional hardships such as death in the family and poverty. Antonia develops a sense of independence that is her most prominent trait throughout the book. The characters find activities and places where they feel like they belong and they begin to discover who they are. The narrator states, “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 the pony to get me home again.” Jim is speaking of a place where he can be free, riding his horse across the Nebraskan plains. This is only one example of the characters finding a place to be and find themselves. As the story goes on,
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