Antonia's Struggles of Immigration Essay

Antonia's Struggles of Immigration Essay

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Why do many immigrants make the long and usually costly move to America? Is it the largely idolized notion that Americans are wealthier with better opportunities? Moreover, is the price some pay worth the risk? In Willa Cather’s My Ántonia, Ántonia faces struggles as a young child, including language barriers, poverty, harsh living conditions, and her beloved father’s death. However, as Ántonia grows into a woman, she must face struggles of a social nature, such as the division of social and economic classes, as well as social opprobrium. While immigration to America may open many doors for immigrants, it is equally fraught with obstacles. Likewise, Ántonia must face many adversities after her emigration from Bohemia to Nebraska, which make her a stronger person.
My Ántonia is a novel that captures the struggles of early European immigrants and settlers. Antonia, a young Bohemian immigrant, moves to Nebraska with her family in search for better opportunities. Mrs. Shimerda moves her family, against her husbands will, as she believes there is more land and money for her sons and better husbands for her girls (Cather 96). It is here she meets Jim Burden, a neighboring orphan who arrives on the same train as she. Antonia and Jim quickly form a strong bond and become best friends. However, as they get older, their lives take different paths that cause them to drift apart. While Jim goes to school, he furthers his education and becomes a lawyer; Antonia must stay behind and work to help support her family. Before long, Antonia falls in love with a man who abandons her unwed and pregnant. Consequently, the town turns its back on her, and she must return to her family’s farm to work. Eventually, however, Antonia marries a Bohemian man ...


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...ia. New York: Signet Classic, 1994. Print.
Dykema-VanderArk, Anthony M. "An overview of My Ántonia." Literature Resource Center. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Literature Resource Center. Web. 14 Nov. 2011.
Gerber, Philip. "Chapter 3: The Bright Challenge." Willa Cather. Philip L. Gerber. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1975. Twayne's United States Authors Series 258. Literature Resource Center. Web. 14 Nov. 2011.
Miller, JR. E, James. My Antonia: A Frontier Drama of time. American Quarterly. X.4. (Winter, 1958): 476-84. Rpt. In Twentieth- Century Literary Criticism: Excerpts from Criticism of the Works of Novelists, Poets, Playwrights, Short Story Writers, and other Creative Writers Who Died between 1900 and 1960, from the First Published Critical Appraisals to Current Evaluations. Eds. Paula Kepos and Dennis Poupard. Vol. 31. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1989. 33-33. Print.

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