Willa Cather 's My Antonia Essay

1785 Words Aug 29th, 2015 8 Pages
My Antonia by Willa Cather is a novel that includes bone-chilling tragedy and life affirming uplift. The story centers around a memoir by Jim Burdin, a middle age New York lawyer who decided to write down his reminsces of his dear friend Antonia Shimerda. The story begins with Burdin heading on a train for Nebraska to live with his grandparents. He is ten years old and both of his parents have recently died. On the train he spots a Russian immigrant family and he is intrigued by them; the family includes a pretty twelve year old girl named Antonia. In an act of serendipity, they turn out to be his grandparent’s neighbors. The novel follows Jim and Antonia’s ensuing friendship, and the lives of all the other people in town. Both of the main characters are in the peak of their childhoods in the book’s beginning, however only Jim would have a youth of traditional innocence.

Throughout the book, struggle and hardship befalls Antonia and her family--as is the way things are for first-generation American immigrants. Later on in the story, Jim and Antonia part ways--with Jim heading to Harvard, and Antonia having to stay back and tend the family farm. While away from each other, Jim finds that Antonia became pregnant by a local man and was deserted. Jim feels dissapointemnt and sadness at this turn in Antonia’s life. Twenty more years go by, with Jim hesistating to go back and visit her, not wanting to have his childhood vision of what she was tainted in his mind. Finally, Jim…

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