My Antonia Essay: The Role of Men in My Antonia

No Works Cited
Length: 814 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Yellow      
Open Document

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


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.

While working in Black Hawk, the hired girls assert their independence from men in practical matters but also proclaim their dependence in defining their personality. Tony, Tiny, Lena, and any other country girl ever to work in town can clearly survive without a male influence. They are, in fact, supporting the men with the funds they send home. However, as each is independent from men for survival, each is still defined by their actions and attitudes toward men. Lena Lingard is most outwardly defined by men. In the fields and the cattle she exists in a male vacuum where she can be wild like the fields around her. Once she is exposed to town life and men, she still retains the wild nature, but it is now covered by a facade of new dresses instead of her earlier rags. "The unusual color of her eyes - a shade of deep violet - and their soft, confiding expression" are no longer representative of her pure nature, but instead an object to be lusted over by men (150). Lena doesn't need men to survive, but she needs men to be beautiful. In similar fashion, the farm physiques of Tiny and Ant...

... middle of paper ...

...back], you're here, like my father. So I won't be lonesome" (256). Those memories of her father and Jim are all that Antonia posses of her past and they are all that shapes her future

No woman truly needs a man to sustain life; but men will often shape their future. As clearly shown in My Antonia , men often have an undeniable impact on women's' personalities and choices of lifestyle. Mrs. Steinem's metaphor does not hold. A bicycle has no place in a fish's world, but men and women cannot be separated. Any past action inevitably shapes one's future. If a man exists anywhere in a woman's world he will affect her life whether it be in a positive or negative fashion. The more appropriate metaphor would be something like "Women need men like a fish needs nuclear waste". You certainly don't need it, but if it's there, it's going to have an impact on your life.


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: 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]
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: A Gender Study Essay example - I've chosen to write about the gender statement in Cather's "My Antonia." I'd like to first start out by saying that I don't believe that she was trying to make a statement about the men in this work. I think each of the men in this story are very different and take an important role in the story. I'd like to go through and give a little information on a choice few characters. I'd like to start with Jim; he was the main male character (obviously) in this story. Jim had many good qualities about him....   [tags: American Literature] 841 words
(2.4 pages)
Strong 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]
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]
The Chains of Social Hierarchy and Gender Roles Essay - In William Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, the use of mistaken identity and role reversal communicates that gender roles and social class are constructed illusions that trick people into having unrealistic expectations about how they are supposed behave.Viola crossdressing as Cesario in the play challenges traditional views of how a woman of her status should act.The differences between the accepted clothing for an individual emphasizes gender roles and social hierarchy in society. During the Renaissance, “ the idea of two genders, one subordinate to the other, provided a key element in its hierarchical view of the social order and to buttress its gendered division of labor” (Howard 423)....   [tags: William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Role Reversal]
:: 9 Works Cited
1259 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
My Antonia Essay: The Role of Women - 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....   [tags: My Antonia Essays]
:: 8 Works Cited
2160 words
(6.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
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: Antonia and Jim - Antonia and Jim of My Antonia           In Willa Cather's My Antonia a special bond is formed, shattered, mended, and eventually secured between the main characters, Antonia Shimerda and Jim Burden. Jim and Antonia seem to be destined to affect each other's lives dramatically, from the beginning of the novel.                Starting at a young age, the main characters lives are intertwined. They form a special bond, which have both positive and negative affects on their relationship. At the time when Jim and Antonia are growing up, a rigid social structure exists in Nebraska....   [tags: My Antonia Essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
1504 words
(4.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]