My Ántonia (Great Plains Trilogy, #3) My Ántonia discussion


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My Antonia

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message 1: by Alyssa (new)

Alyssa In the novel “My Antonia” by Willa Cather, the story starts off about a young boy named Jim has moved from Virginia to Nebraska to live with his grandparents on a farm. Both of his parents died when he was just ten years old, within a year. He then meets a meets a family from Bohemia that has just moved to Virginia named the Shimerda Family. Mr. Shimerda did not want to move there but Mrs. Shimerda did. Mr. Shimerda commits suicide because he was homesick and felt alone. Jim becomes very close to the girl of the family named Antonia. He teaches her English and that is where the two become very close of friends. Jim begins to fall in love with Antonia but never would tell her until later in their lives. He told her children after twenty years has passed, that “he was in love with their mother”. The title itself explains how Jim felt about Antonia as a young adult. Jim was in love with her and that explains to me that that is why the story is named “My Antonia”. This book does a very good job on giving details of the back ground of Jim and Antonia. The author explains what happened to the two of them as they grew up, the direction that they both went, the family they created, and how they eventually came back together. The author of this story makes the reader think and makes them wonder what is going too happened next. Also makes the reader wait to get the gist of the story. That was the one thing I did not like because I am the type of reader that wants to be able to see hints in the beginning of the story of what is likely to happen later on the novel. I don’t have the patience to wait, but other than that, this is a great read and I would highly suggest to read.

Publisher- Dover Publications (October 24th, 1994)
ISBN- 0486282406
Paper Back- $3.55


Rachel Adiyah Maybe I misunderstand your discussion, but you say "the family they created", concerning Jim and Antonia. They never created a family. She came home pregnant and disgraced, though she later married a fellow central European immigrant. And Jim takes off for college, only returning when any chance they had together is gone. And honestly? I never got the feeling that he thought of her as his. I thought that he loved her inside, but being that she was "ethnic" and Catholic in the 19th century, and disreputable, he would never actually go through with pursuing her. He only tells her family that he loves her when there is no longer any danger of her ensnaring him, when it is safe.


Geoffrey Aronson No, Rachel. She rejects him early in adolescence as she thinks he's too young for her. The novel's poignancy comes from his subsequent unhappiness in a bad marriage and despite her poverty and eight children, she is the one who is happy.
His would be the successful life in society's eyes, but Jim realizes the falseness of that premise as illustrated by Antonia's and his situations.


message 4: by Rachel Adiyah (last edited Dec 26, 2017 06:11PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rachel Adiyah Rachel Adiyah wrote: "Maybe I misunderstand your discussion, but you say "the family they created", concerning Jim and Antonia. They never created a family. She came home pregnant and disgraced, though she later married..."
Sorry, but I disagree. Jim came from a strict Protestant household, and he was a WASP. When you read 19th century literature, you cannot disregard the historical context in which the tale occurs. Literature is not created in a vacuum. Antonia began to heap disrespect upon herself when she goes to work in the hotel. I don't actually believe that Jim would have ever really gone after her. Every time that Jim begins mooning after Antonia, something comes along that has his so-called "love" deconstruct itself. Like trying to pursue the seamstress who really doesn't want a family. I could also level a load of feminist critical theory at this novel. The very copy of this book that I read provided a much needed understanding of who Willa Cather was and just what she believed in a post-novel essay. Willa Cather was NOT a feminist, and literary critics have pointed out she would most likely have been against Antonia and her problems if the situation had occurred in real life. Ever studied Critical Analysis (of literature)? If I could sum up My Antonia, I would say that this is a novel about friendship, not romantic love. Antonia belongs to Jim AS A FRIEND, always. If this were about romantic love, when Antonia was dumped and forced to work in the fields by her jerk of a brother while she was pregnant and unmarried, I would say that it would have been a grand gesture for Jim to have swept in to proclaim his love and marry her; but he didn't do it. Instead, he bemoans the loneliness of the west and the sorrow of Antonia's situation, and leaves.


Larry Ellis Book Review: My Antonia, by Willa Cather
Posted on June 7, 2019 by labeak52
C. S. Lewis wrote that a reader should read two old books for every one new book she reads. This discipline, he thought, would help to reduce “chronological snobbery:” the idea that the present status quo is the best it has ever been. That is, we who happen to be living right now are in the place and time where all truth and light are at their maximums. Not so, Lewis argued. He should know – I’ve never run across anyone so well read as him. He was well acquainted with the ancients and particularly the medieval.

I can’t say that I follow his advice very strictly, but I have just finished reading – re-reading, actually, more about that later – a book that is from another time and that, I think, does give one some perspective on our own time and its lacks and mistakes. This book, My Antonia, by Willa Cather, was first published 100 years ago. Lewis would probably argue that a mere hundred years does not qualify it as an “old book,” but the perspective in the book is quite different from that of today.

Maybe the book was ground-breaking for its day, portraying the lives of strong, independent women. But to contemporary ears it is of an ancient sentiment.

The story is set in the late 19th century and on the prairie in Nebraska. At that time the mid-west was still a frontier and much of the land unbroken. The storyteller – the book is written in the first person – is a man named Jim Burden and he tells the tale of his childhood and maturation on his grandparents’ Nebraska farm where he is thrown together with a family that has just immigrated to the US from “Bohemia” and, particularly one daughter, Antonia, who is just a little older than him.

Of course, it is a love story. Jim is in love with Antonia from the very first and admits this to himself only now and then. But he also falls in love with at least one other immigrant girl and all of his longings are unfulfilled. The book, daring as it may have been for its day, is completely chaste and yet the longings it portrays are universal and true.

If the book works its magic on you, you will look up after finishing the last page and be pierced by your own forgotten yearnings.


Geoffrey Aronson My Antonia is one of my favorite books. I originally read it in my high school sophomore class as part of an assignment and hated it with a passion. Fifty years later I read it again and could not help but think how foolish I had been. The most salient point I gleaned from the book was how happy Antonia was despite her poverty and how miserable Jim was in his marriage, although having not only entered the professional class but upper middle class


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