Reading Response for My Antonia


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When recalling the female characters from My Antonia an anecdote about carrots, eggs, and coffee beans comes to mind. Each of the items on their own have good qualities however when the items are placed in boiling water they drastically changed. The carrots strong and hard become weak after being placed in the boiling water. The once fragile eggs become hard and rigid. Coffee beans however release their flavor and aroma. The coffee beans changed the least but by changing the water or their surroundings become something better.

The women in My Antonia show how they change and evolve into better women when faced with adversity. Frances Harling, Molly Garner, and Lena Lingard all change while in Black Hawk. They do not weaken or become hardened and jaded when faced with adversity; they roll with the punches and come out on top.

Frances gains a greater sense of responsibility. After the death of her father she takes on many new responsibilities. Frances, like the eggs, became tougher when faced with trouble. She seems to become stronger and more resilient after her fathers death. She takes over his business and becomes successful because of her perseverance. She works harder and with more dedication than ever before. Frances demonstrates a woman gaining success through her hard work and dedication.

Molly Gardner was married but was truly the woman behind the successful man. Molly was originally strong but like the carrots knew when to act weak. Molly Gardner was not a weak character but she did allow herself to play housewife when it suited her. Molly was fascinated with material things and because of this was driven to achieve wealth and success even if she had to drag her husband along. Molly was the smarter of the two she made many of the important decisions in the marriage. Because she was the more intelligent she also ran the business through her husband.

Lena Lingard wanted a better life than what she had. It was this overwhelming desire to make a better life that was the driving force behind most of her actions. It was because Lena disliked her work on the farm and wanted a better life that she decided to move to town and become a seamstress.

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Like the coffee beans Lena changed her circumstances thus making a better life for herself. In changing her circumstances Lena also changes herself. Lena does become the town flirt and ends up isolating her friends because of this.

Antonia. Like the coffee beans makes the most of her difficulties. Antonia struggles most of her life, nothing seems to work in her favor. A series of bad events always seem to circle Antonia. Even though things never seem to work out for Antonia she keeps her head up. Unlike Lily in the House of Mirth Antonia does not try to marry in order to attain success and social standing. She gains what is important to her through hard work and perseverance. While many others would become bitter Antonia becomes a more noble and honorable person because of her problems. It is Antonia who truly makes the most of what life gives her. She seems to be happy with the simple things, unafraid of hard work and suffering that gets her through and helps her find happiness.



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