This complex treatment of identity calls for a reconsideration of Cather's place in a feminist literary tradition as well as recognition of her importance to theorists of autobiographical practice.
At the center of My Antonia lies the Dreamer-like story of Antonia Shimerda Cuzak, a Bohemian immigrant who at age 14 comes with her family to the Nebraska of the s and adapts to life in the West with a completeness unmatched by her American-born neighbors. Jim, who has been living in Virginia, must, like Antonia, adjust to the challenges of a Nebraska that is new to him, but his grandparents are kind, prosperous people.
Jim does not have to worry about where his next meal is coming from or how he will get through the cold, Nebraska winters.
But they will be hard for us. The closeness she and Jim shared on first arriving in Nebraska and roaming a prairie filled with miles of copper-red grass does not keep them together. Jim and Antonia experience a tender parting in the year Antonia turns 24, but, despite their youth, their parting has the feel of a final goodbye.
Jim is now a prosperous railroad lawyer, living in New York and caught up in a loveless marriage to a woman who spends most of her time being a patron of the arts. Antonia is a worn, but vibrant, mother, with a large family and a devoted husband living on a farm she helped build.
Antonia has managed to overcome all that should have undone her and succeeded in ways impossible to imagine in the country of her birth. Like so many Dreamers, Antonia arrived with no special skills and only a few words of English.
But what allows Antonia to prosper is her grit.
She sacrifices her privacy to go into service as a housekeeper. She marries only when she is convinced that her future husband will treat the child she has had out of wedlock as his own. Jim teaches Antonia English.
Nearby farmers pitch in to help the Shimerdas build a log house. A neighbor teaches Antonia how to use a sewing machine and is present when she has her first baby. It is this combination of hard work and goodwill that in the end allows Antonia to thrive in a Nebraska that Cather makes clear is not immune from bigotry toward immigrants.
She was not interested in making a formal case for immigration.Essay about Pursuing the American Dream in My Antonia by Willa Cather - Pursuing the American Dream in My Antonia by Willa Cather In the novel, My Antonia, by Willa Cather, everyone seems to be trying to pursue the American Dream.
An Analysis of the American Dream in My Antonia, a Novel by Willa Cather PAGES 1. WORDS View Full Essay. More essays like this: Not sure what I'd do without @Kibin - Alfredo Alvarez, student @ Miami University.
Exactly what I needed. - Jenna Kraig, student @ . As stressed by Cherny ("Willa Cather," pp. –15), who traces Cather's development of the theme through the various situations in which the novel's characters, though influenced or constrained by circumstances, are shown to retain their power of choice.
Willa Cather INTRODUCTION PRINCIPAL WORKS GENERAL COMMENTARY FURTHER READING (Full name Willa Sibert Cather) American novelist, short story writer, poet, essayist, and critic..
The following entry presents an overview of critical commentary on Cather's work through Thus, characters in My Ántonia often develop an extremely intense rapport with their surroundings, and it is the sense of loss engendered by moving beyond one’s surroundings that occasions the novel’s exploration of the meaning of the past.
- Pursuing the American Dream in My Antonia by Willa Cather In the novel, My Antonia, by Willa Cather, everyone seems to be trying to pursue the American Dream. While they all have different ideas of just exactly what the American Dream is, they all know precisely what they want.