My Antonia by Willa Cather


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Ántonia is a very nice young girl at the beginning of the story. She is so beautiful, that all boys are mesmerized by the way she looks. She is a very nice your girl and is willing to be friends with anyone who wants to be friends. She is especially nice to Jimmy, because he is the first person that she meets when she moves to her new house. Ántonia becomes much better friends with Jimmy as time passes. He teaches her English and many other things. They spend much of their time together playing and having fun, when they don’t have to work on their families’ farms.
     As the years go by, Ántonia and Jimmy see less and less of each other. Antonia’s father kills himself, which means that Ántonia must work much harder to make money to help her family survive. She is always working around the farm and telling everyone what to do, so those things get done right. She is a very bossy young lady and everyone listens to her because of the reign that she has over people. Everyone looks up to her because she is a very strong woman, and an excellent worker.
     Eventually when Ántonia becomes old enough and gains enough respect from people, she moves into town and becomes a “live-in housekeeper” for a wealthy family. She works hard there also and sends all of her wages home to help her mother and siblings on the farm. While Ántonia is working in town, she isn’t allowed to have very many breaks, and when she does, her and her friends go out and create quite a reputation for themselves. She eventually becomes mixed up in the wrong crowd, and ruins her reputation that she has worked so hard for.
     Up until this point, Ántonia has been a very strong your lady and is able to stand up for herself and not let anyone tell her what to do. She is still a beautiful woman that all men find very nice looking and are attracted to her in some strange way. After joining the wrong crowd, Ántonia loses her ability to make good decisions for herself, and ends up marrying a “no-good”. She comes home alone, sorrowful, and rejected. Her fiancée had told her that they had to be married, but he ran off without her. Ántonia later gives birth to a little girl.

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She takes great pride in her daughter, but with the birth of this child, she looses whatever respect she had left.
     Ántonia had to give up many things in her life, such as her childhood. She was very young when her father died, which meant that she had to start working extremely hard while she was still supposed to be enjoying her youth. She didn’t have time to play with friends anymore or do anything that normal young children did. When she’s older, Ántonia gives up her good reputation that she has. She becomes mixed in with the wrong people, and gives up everything that she has worked so hard to receive.
     Even though Ántonia gave up so much during her life, she received many good things from it. When she gives up her childhood, she learns about responsibility and about being an adult. Even though this was at a young age, it still proved worthwhile to her. While gaining this she improves in physical shape, as well as gaining knowledge of farming. Spending all of this time working pays off in the end, because she is given a good job in the town in which she can earn money to send back to her family at the farm. This allows her to gain respect from the family for which she is working and from the friends of the family. Ántonia also gains a beautiful daughter from all of her mistakes that she makes. She will always be reminded of how her life could have been if she hadn’t have fallen in the wrong crowd, when she looks at her daughter.
     Willa Cather has a strange distaste for modern life. She feels that people should live their lives how they want to, not as other people do. Cather believes that the modern world is overly materialistic, and is devoted to the values such as the importance of family and the need for human courage and dignity. Being this way, she created strong female characters whose strength and determination had before had been only been given to men. Therefore, Willa Cather has a strong disbelief in the modern-day way of life.


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