My Antonia


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In the book, "My Antonia", nostalgic views can be compared to those from narratives of Indians personal experiences. The experience that can be compared is the relation that they had regarding the westward movement and the plans the Americans had for the different races. The hardships they had experienced had been uncomfortable and unfair. The Indians had it harder than the immigrants, because they were moved from their own homes and sent to reservations and their kids were taken to the east to learn to become white. The immigrants came to the west expected great opportunities. They experienced hardships which involved new culture, religion, and the racist ways of the white men. Although these images can be compared to hardships they had the Indians had a more difficult outcome to experience.

As America moved westward the Indians had finally run out of places to live. The Indians were moved to reservations, and the parents were convinced that their kids could develop better lives by abiding and living as a white American in the east. After they reached the east they were looked upon as savages, uncivilized and dirty. As they walked through a town they were looked upon as being the conquered and mocked. Children at the sight of them had much fear. People did not understand the culture of the Indians.

In the first narrative, the Indians boys and girls were sent to the east to become just like the white men. Indians children were oppressed with new cultures and new ways of living that were the opposite of how they have always been living. They were forced to wear new clothes that were much more uncomfortable, such as trousers, high collars, boots, stiff- blossomed shirts, and suspenders. The Indians could not understand how the whites could be comfortable in those clothes. The Indians were also degraded when it came to tampering with their culture. Their hair was cut and their names were changed to common English names and most of all they were not allowed at all to speak of their mother tongue. The food was also modernized and they had to change accordingly to stuff they never experienced. Disease was never apart of the Indian community but there were imposed as well on the Indians. So the Indian children did not necessarily benefit from the change only make them feel worse about who they were and the fact that they could not do anything about it.

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In the second narrative it expresses a boy's view on the white imposed culture. The Indian boy stood up for what he believed in and tried to fight for what he thought was right. The boy had to give up all his belongings for items that didn't even interest him like those uncomfortable boots. He had to give up his knife. After the cutting of his hair his inner spirit was killed and became dependent again for help.

The book "my Antonia" expresses the views a white man had when he moved away from Nebraska to New York and the experiences he went through as well as the immigrants that he befriended. Jim and the immigrants moved to Nebraska during the period when the United States wanted to expand and explore more territory. But like the book says, "With rapid growth comes rapid change." This is the motto Jim and the immigrants had eventually abided by. Jim although had it easy he went to the east and became a lawyer in New York, because he was white. As for the immigrants they experienced hardships and were widely taken advantage of.

Many changes occurred in the lives of Jim and the immigrant family. When the immigrant family, the Shimerda's, moved to America they were taken advantage of, because they couldn't speak English, which led to the lack of money. When they moved to the west they didn't realize what to expect. What they did get was extreme hardships. Hardships included the new style of culture that they had to make new in their lives, change in religion and the change in how things worked because they were immigrants. Since the Shimerda family was catholic and all white men were Protestants, they had to abide by the new religion in order to be accepted.

So comparison between the two types of settlers I would say that the Indians had t harder because they had to move out from their homes and were forced to go to school with white people. As for the immigrants it was their decision to come to America and to choose where they would like to live. The immigrants had more opportunities and choices on where they wanted to live and how they wanted to live.

Being accepted into the whites favor was the goal for both the immigrants and the Indians. The father told has child the only way to be successful was to be like the white man, "Don't be white just be like them." Although the experience for the immigrants was not as harsh as it was for the Indians they still both had to live rough lives. All the characters in the story did experience home sickness and had past images of how life had used to be. Over all the white people had destroyed the inner sprits and culture of the Indians, but the immigrants still continued to practice their type of culture because it wasn't as different compared to the whites.



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