Power of the Frontier Exposed in My Antonia Essay

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Power of the Frontier Exposed in My Antonia Willa Cather's novel My Ántonia dramatizes the effect the frontier has on both native-born people and immigrants that come to the West in search of new beginnings. The story centers around two families living in a remote area of Nebraska from completely diverse backgrounds. This tale suggests that regardless of where a person comes from, the trials and tribulations of living under such tough conditions will ultimately impact his/her future existence. Cather's characters, no matter the age or heritage, are continuously re-defined, as if reborn, into a new life by surviving the harsh realities of the frontier. Much of the creation of these characters takes place in the very…show more content…
As he lies down to sleep that night, he is overwhelmed by his new surroundings and thinks to himself that "between that earth and that sky I felt erased, blotted out. I did not say my prayers that night; here, I felt, what would be would be" as if he is completely surrendering himself to his new environment (8). But this feeling of helplessness doesn't last long and Jim quickly begins to embrace his new surroundings. His visit to his Grandmother's garden is a point in which we see Jim begin his transformation to his new self I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep. (14) Linda Pickle, in her essay exploring the effects the frontier had on Jim, describes this best as "the background and even the foundation of a sense of oneness of the individual with nature, with the past, and with others" (83). The idea is that the person's inner self and potential are linked to Frontier life, and that they are therefore destined "for heroic grandeur" or

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