Satisfactory Essays
In the book, My Ántonia, by Willa Cather, the main character of Jim Burden comes to learn many lessons about life in this coming of age story. The dramatic tale of Jim and his relationships with his family and friends weaves a unique depiction of frontier life that is rarely seen. The lessons that the main character learn throughout his time on the Nebraska plains are powerful values and characteristics that help Jim become the man he is. Jim never comes to the conclusion that his story is about his maturation, as he see the tales as reminiscence of his friend Ántonia. The lessons of education and loyalty are all throughout the novel, but one lesson is at the center of My Ántonia. The idea that people must love others for who they are and not for who they wish they would be is a life altering lesson that makes Jim a dynamic character. The story details the timeline of Jim’s life as he grows up, and then as he is older, his journey of discovering how he can always find his way back to loving the best in people. This lesson can be no more apparent than in Jim and Ántonia’s relationship.
In Book I of My Ántonia, Jim is introduced to Ántonia Shimerda and find himself quickly smitten with the bohemian teenager. It would be easy to assume that young Mr. Burden’s acceptance of Ántonia is based solely on the romantic feelings that he is developing for her, but a deeper sense of love is coming about as their relationship grows over the years. Jim connects this girl to so much of his life and how he sees the world, “More than any other person we remembered, this girl seemed to mean to us the country, the conditions, the whole adventure of our childhood” (Cather, 1217). Yet, for Jim it went beyond the recalling memories of years ...

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...ach of the people in the Cuzak house and they all accepted each other for who they were in this lifelong friendship. Jim’s love for Ántonia had transformed from desire to pure contentment in the truth that Ántonia became the person she was meant to be and with the family she deserved. This type of love is rare in the world.
Willa Cather creates a beautiful painting of how friendship can affect the heart of a person for a lifetime. As the relationship of Ántonia and Jim goes through cycles of closeness and distance, a constant truth is burnt into Jim’s heart and soul. He learns that people are worth knowing for who they are and the people that become closest to him deserve the unwavering care and loyalty to become who they were intended to be without judgment or conditions. Jim and Ántonia are kindred spirits that were lucky enough to find each other.
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