My Antonia Essay Research Paper Welcome to

My Antonia Essay, Research Paper

Welcome to Nebraska, the land of plentiful plains and endless adventure. or in

Willa Cather?s case, the setting in which she introduces her readers to the two main

characters of her novel, My Antonia. The compelling relationship between Jim

Burden and Antonia Shimerda makes it impossible for their similarities and

differences to go unnoticed. Both move to Nebraska, but their outlooks of the

situation differ drastically. The roles that Jim and Antonia play in each others lives

help them grow immensely throughout the story but the ways that they view each

other remain nothing alike. As the two characters grow, they become distracted at

times by the opposite sex, these different scenarios teach them both similar lessons

and bring them to see each other again.

Jim and Antonia moving to Nebraska gave the author the opportunity to

show their characters on the same level, both starting over simultaneously. Here

Cather allows us to see the difference in how the two perceive the new start as well

as life in general. Jim feels as though he has been uprooted and has deserted

everything that he knows to be real, even the memory of his parents, ?I have left

even their spirits behind me. The wagon jolted on, carrying me I knew not wither?.

(8) This shows us that Jim feels alone and is uncertain of what to expect. Antonia on

the other hand view the move as a new opportunity. Although she fears the impact it

will have on her fathers health she see it as a chance for her and her family to prevail

in a new land.

When the characters are introduced Jim immediately begins to develop and

infatuation with Antonia that strengthens throughout the story. At first Antonia

does not treat Jim as someone on her own level which Jim resents. Eventually Jim

proves to her that is mature regardless of their age difference by killing a snake. ? I

never know you was so brave, Jim,? she went on comfortingly. ? You is just like big

mans; you wait for him lift his head and then you go for him. Ain?t you feel scared a

bit? Now we take that snake home and show everybody.?(32) This is the main

turning point in the way Antonia treats Jim, she now respects him more and views

him as more of and adult. Jim goes on to express his feelings on her reaction, ?She

went on in this strain until I began to think that I had longed for this opportunity,

and had hailed it with joy.? (32) Throughout the story Antonia and Jim become

closer, Jim continues to reflect back to Antonia showing that he looks at her as the

ideal woman, she is his crutch. Her strong morals and values remain intriguing to

Jim and encourage him in everything that he pursues. In turn Jim assists Antonia in

adjusting to the many changes she endures. Although Jim?s dependency on Antonia

is indirect it is still very comparable to the role he plays in her life.

Eventually Antonia and Jim grow up and begin to pursue their goals.

Antonia stays in the country while Jim goes of to the big city to attend Harvard

University. Antonia has fallen for Larry Donovan, a train conductor. In spite of the

fact that everyone else can see that Larry is misleading Antonia she remains

oblivious. Eventually Larry moves to Denver and brings Antonia, promising her

marriage. He soon spends all of her money and gets her pregnant leaving her, only

to return to Nebraska and have her baby. Antonia returns to her old hard working

ways and refrains from dwelling on the situation. Meanwhile, studying at Harvard

Jim is reunited with an old friend from Nebraska, Lena Lingard. Lena and Jim

become romantically involved which begins to distract Jim from his studies. Jim

realizes soon enough that despite her kindness Lena is the reason for his distance

from his schooling and decides to end their affair. Before they say their good-byes

Jim tells Lena how well she has treated him,?You?ve been just awfully good to me,

Lena,? I blurted. ?I don?t think about much else. I shall never think about much else

while I?m with you. I?ll never settle down and grind if I stay here. You know

that.?(187) Quite some time passes , before Antonia and Jim are reunited but it is

apparent that their experiences have affected them.

A story of two friends, so much alike yet with noticeable differences as well.

They start over together but from there they begin to grow, grow together, grow

distant, grow fond, and grow stronger with each other.


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