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Essay Importance of the Past in Willa Cather's My Antonia

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The Importance of the Past in Willa Cather's My Antonia

 
In My Antonia, Willa Cather emphasizes the importance of the past through Jum Burden's narration. Jim Burden realizes at the conclusion of the novel how much he enjoyed his childhood days and how much his memories mean to him. There are three events that Cather included in the novel which contribute greatly to the overall theme, concerning the importance of the past.

One event is in Chapter II of Book III. Jim decides to write about his youth in Nebraska as Vergil has just done. As he is thinking about this, Lena Lingard comes to the door and he is excited to see her. Once again he begins to think about the past. Even after she left, just her presence had impacted his life, which adds to the importance of the past in this novel. Earlier in the chapter Jim is studying Latin and reads the line "Optima dies...prima fugit." Translated as the best days flee first, Jim begins to think of the past. This is the main theme of the novel, and Jim is just beginning to realize how important his past was.

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