Barner's Reviews > My Ántonia

My Ántonia by Willa Cather
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U 50x66
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Oct 17, 08

really liked it
Recommended for: adult readers
Read in October, 2008, read count: once

I recently read this book in order to join a discussion group. Though it is one I should have read years ago, I am glad I waited: I loved it. The description is wonderful : ( the copper colored grass she refers to is seen in MN in two nearby state parks. The color is magnificient especially when the sun highlights it.) Antonia is full of exuberance for life even after experiencing heartache. She is resilient; all the women are strong characters, and the novel is probably a sad love story as told by Jim who counts his freindship with Antonia the highlight of his life.

Other characters are real and their stories are intertwined into the novel. For example the two Russian men have a story that sends shivers up the reader's spine

The hardships of early Nebraskan life are apparent: the country girls are the survivors and the novel serves as a celebration of a strong, happy woman.
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message 1: by Jane (new)

Jane I taught My Antonia for many years and each year asked my students to promise that they will reread it in 30 years. I wasn't ever sure that they were experienced enough to fully appreciate the book though many loved it, as I do. The novel points out the value of maintaining friendship over time, and I wanted to allow them to look at their current friendships as ones that would grow and that would sustain them. Jim's visit to see Antonia, her husband and children and the knowledge her children have of his long ago closeness to their mother moves me deeply. Also, the book offers a wonderful opportunity to teach simile and metaphor, and my kids always marveled at Cather's descriptive powers. The way Cather combines seemingly disjointed episodes offers a wonderful opportunity to look at the way an author develops theme and unity as well. (We had fun figuring out how the Peter/Pavel and the wolves episode echoes the theme of the book.) Finally, one of my favorite lines in all of literature comes from the early scene when Jim sits in the pumpkin patch: "That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great." Every student wanted to share an experience which illuminates this notion. Every time I read MA I find something new to love. I hope your discussion group enjoyed it.


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