Preview
Preview

My Antonia Essay: The Role of Women

:: 8 Works Cited
Length: 2160 words (6.2 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Role of Women in My Antonia  

 
   In her novel, My Antonia, Cather represents the frontier as a new nation. Blanche Gelfant notes that Cather "creat[ed] images of strong and resourceful women upon whom the fate of a new country depended" . This responsibility, along with the "economic productivity" Gilbert and Gubar cite (173), reinforces the sense that women hold a different place in this frontier community than they would in the more settled areas of America.

 

     One manner in which this unusual place can be seen is in the women's privileged relationship to the land in the text. While Jim Burden attends school, it is Antonia who shapes and works the new land that the pioneers inhabit, going "from farm to farm" to fill the need for agricultural hands (111). While Otto and Jake fill this need early in the text, it is predominantly Antonia's cultivation of the land that is followed throughout the remainder of the text. Similarly, the concrete contributions of the "hired girls" stand in pointed contrast to the invisible and/or passive employment of male characters such as Mr. Harling.

 

     In the same way, Jim recognizes that it is the "hired girls" like Antonia who will form the backbone of the society when the next generation comes: "the girls who once worked in Black Hawk kitchens are to-day [sic] managing big farms and fine families of their own; their children are better off than the children of the women they used to serve" (150-1). These assertions--of the women's direct involvement of the development of the region, both agriculturally and socially--highlight an important point: "it is insufficient to think of nationalism affecting gender in a one-way relationship" (Walby 237). In other words,...


... middle of paper ...


...Own: Attitudes Toward Women in Willa Cather's Short Fiction." Modern Fiction Studies 36:1 (Spring 1990): 81-89.

Mosse, George. Nationalism and Sexuality: Respectability and Abnormal Sexuality in Modern Europe. New York: Howard Fertig, Inc., 1985.

Ryan, Maureen. "No Woman's Land: Gender in Willa Cather's One of Ours." Studies in American Fiction 18 (Spring 1990): 65-75.

Summers, Claude J. "'A Losing Game in the End': Aestheticism and Homosexuality in Cather's 'Paul's Case.'" Modern Fiction Studies 36:1 (Spring 1990): 103-119.

Walby, Sylvia. "Woman and Nation." Mapping the Nation. ed. Gopal Balakrishnan. New York: Verso, 1996. 235-254.

Woolf, Virginia. Three Guineas. London: Hogarth Press Ltd., 1938.

Wussow, Helen. "Language, Gender, and Ethnicity in Three Fictions by Willa Cather."

Women and Language 18 (Spring 1995): 52-5.

 

 

 


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
My Antonia Essay: Role of Women - Role of  Women in My Antonia  The role of the women in My Antonia as the showcased laborers and workers in the new community does not, certainly, alleviate the questions of patriarchal influence offered in the discussions of gender. Certainly, the fact that Ántonia is deprived of the education she longs for and yet cannot have, because it is she who is responsible for her family's success--"'School is all right for little boys. I help make this land one good farm'" (94)--cannot be seen as entirely good, if we agree that "the value of education is among the greatest of all human values" (Woolf 45); and in spite of her protests to the contrary, the bitter recognition of exclusion brings Án...   [tags: My Antonia Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1549 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
My Antonia Essay: The Role of Men in My Antonia - The Role of Men in My Antonia Gloria Steinem once wrote that "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." Clearly she is attempting to assert women's independence and further the liberation movement. However, her analogy is not quite complete. A bicycle has absolutely no place in a fish's life, but whether she needs him or not, men are very much present in a women's life. While a women can survive without a male influence, his influence shapes much of her personality. This role of man manifests itself in the lives of the women of Black Hawk but most vividly in the form of the working girls....   [tags: My Antonia Essays] 814 words
(2.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
My Antonia Essay: Importance of Setting - The Importance of Setting in My Antonia The setting of the story has tremendous impact on the characters and themes in the novel "My Antonia" by Willa Cather. Cather's delicately crafted naturalistic style is evident not only in her colorfully detailed depictions of the Nebraska frontier, but also in her characters’ relationship with the land on which they live. The common naturalist theme of man being controlled by nature appears many times throughout the novel, particularly in the chapters containing the first winter....   [tags: My Antonia Essays] 558 words
(1.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Women Spies in the American Civil War Essay - With over a half million deaths the most gruesome war in American history drove citizens to action. The suffering during this era was so great many were inspired by nationalism to act. For those who were unable to join the fight upon the battlefield, espionage represented a chance for personal involvement. Although it is believed that many agents never sought recognition for their service, especially Confederate scouts, documentation depicts the espionage present during the American Civil War to be surprisingly sophisticated....   [tags: role of women]
:: 6 Works Cited
2024 words
(5.8 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Antonia Ford and the Spies of the Civil War Essay - Antonia Ford was born at Fairfax Courthouse, Virginia on July 23, 1838. She had a father who was a merchant and a secessionist. She had a brother named Charles who died at the Battle of Brandy Station. Her brother fought in General James Ewell Brown Stuart's Horse Artillery as a lieutenant. General J.E.B. Stuart and John Singleton Mosby were two men who every so often visited the Ford house. When Federal troops came to Fairfax in 1861, Antonia would tell General J.E.B. Stuart of their doings and activities....   [tags: Biography]
:: 2 Works Cited
491 words
(1.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
My Antonia Response Prompts: The Hired Girls Essay - My Antonia Response Prompts: The Hired Girls Harling Family Views “They were all Bohemians, all “hired girls”, states Cather (136). Raising a family on the frontier is very hard work. At this point in the novel, a new aspect of life is revealed. Families who can afford it, bring "hired girls" into their household. Recently, many young women have been acquiring jobs within the Black Hawk area to earn a living. The Harlings are the next door neighbors to Antonia's best friends, the Burtons. Antonia has recently taken a housekeeping job at the Harling residence....   [tags: Literary Analysis] 906 words
(2.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Comparing the Theme of Sacrifice in My Antonia and The Song of the Lark - Theme of Sacrifice in My Antonia and The Song of the Lark         A common trait for Willa Cather's characters is that they possess a certain talent or skill. This art usually controls the lives of these characters. According to critic Maxell Geismar, Cather's heroines who possess a skill often either do not marry or marry men whom they dominate; if they do marry the marriage is without excitement because their passion is invested in their art. In a sense, Geismar accuses Cather's heroines of sacrificing their marital roles for their art (172)....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
2540 words
(7.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
My Antonia by Willa Cather Essay - My Ántonia is an exceptional novel, about much more than pioneers, prairies and immigrants. It is about heart, strength and soul, embodied in the role of a Bohemian immigrant to the Nebraskan prairies, Ántonia Shimerda. Narrated through the eyes of her great childhood friend Jim Burden, who was brought to the prairies to reside with his grandparents after his parent’s deaths, Ántonia’s life is laid bare for the reader. Her spirit, her beauty, her rarity, all radiate out from Jim’s words. Despite hardships, losses, struggles and terrible mistakes, Ántonia’s heart, her joyfulness of life, her purity, her precious ability to discover value and significance in what others would dismiss as useles...   [tags: book report, story analysis] 564 words
(1.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
My Antonia Essay: The Spirit of Antonia - The Spirit of Antonia in My Antonia        The life of Antonia Shimerdas, the main character in Willa Cather's My Antonia, could easily be judged a failure. Perhaps measures of wealth, career, beauty and love fall short when held next to Antonia. If one could categorize life by that unnamable light or spirit which Antonia never loses, she would surpass all who belittle her achievements in other areas.   Where the spirit comes from, no one can say. “Perhaps an ethereal or god-like being takes residence in the person's heart”(Helmick 46)....   [tags: My Antonia Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
1247 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Important Role of Women in Homer's Odyssey Essay example -   For the Greeks, Homer's Odyssey was much more than just an entertaining tale of gods, monsters, and men, it served as cultural paradigm from which every important role and relationship could be defined.  This book, much more so than its counter part The Iliad, gives an eclectic view of the Achean's peacetime civilization.  Through Odyssey, we gain an understanding of what is proper or improper in relationships between father and son, god and mortal, servant and master, guest and host, and--importantly--man and woman.  Women play a vital role in the movement of this narrative.  Unlike in The Iliad, where they are chiefly prizes to be won, bereft of identity, the women of Odyssey are unique...   [tags: The Role of Women in The Odyssey]
:: 4 Works Cited
1720 words
(4.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]