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Essay about Jim Burden's Romanticism in My Antonia

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Jim Burden's Romanticism in My Antonia

 
   Dreams are nothing but our innermost desires. We are made to pursue these dreams and have them be the driving force in all we do. Jim Burden is no different; like everyone, he has dreams, and he does his best to pursue them and fulfill them. Or does he? Jim writes the story of Antonia through his own life. He is plagued with the disease of romanticism. He cannot move on; though time will move, Jim's thoughts and emotions are rooted in the past. Frances Harling said it right when she said, "the trouble with you, Jim, is that you're romantic." Jim is a romantic, a dreamer who never acts. Many things contribute to Jim's romanticism, his experiences, his emotions, and his actions; however as no one could suspect, it helped him mature and appreciate loves lost.

 

The outcome of things depends on both the power of the individual and destiny because they tie in with each other. Things do not just happen, randomly, they happen for a reason only to be seen at the end of things. For example, Jim was raised by his parents in Virginia until they died, upon which his relatives shipped him west to his grandparents. This is part of his journey through life which was predetermined. Jim, as an adult writing, realizes that Destiny makes our decisions and nothing need be worried about because he "did not say my prayers that night [the first night on the farm in Nebraska]: here, I felt, what would be would be." (7) The next big chance Jim takes where his is unsure of what will happen is going to college. Over there he befriends Gaston Cleric, a Classics Instructor. Later on Cleric gets a job at Harvard that "he would like to take me East with him. To my astonishment, gran...


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...ng a lonesome and bland life, when I can shape my future now and become the man I want to be. Although Destiny has already laid out my path, I will grow as Jim did and realize that the power of the individual and Destiny can work together only if you believe in it. Jim learned this lesson too late, and paid the price of misery and living forever thriving off of his memories.

 

Works Consulted

 

Bloom, Harold, ed. Willa Cather's My Antonia. New York: Chelsea House Publishers. 1987.

Cather, Willa. My Antonia. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1995.

 

Randall III, John H.  "Intrepretation of My Antonia."  Willa Cather and Her Critics.  Ed. James Schroeter.  New York: Cornell University Press, 1967.  272-323.

 

Wells, Kim.  "My Antonia: A Survey of Critical Attitudes."  August 23, 1999. Online Internet. November 4, 1998.

 


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