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Lena’s independence and obstinacy makes her a strong personality in My Antonia. Despite how easily she attracted men, Lena never wanted to marry. This is because she was afraid of losing the independence that she had all her life. Her independence was also shown when she arrived at Jim’s apartment in Lincoln, Nebraska. Lena wasn’t tied down, so she was able to go where she wanted, whenever she wanted. Obstinacy showed in Lena’s refusal to marry. In a conversation between Jim and Lena, Jim stated, “Every handsome girl like [Lena] marries.” All through Jim’s argument, Lena stayed true to her anti-marriage view.
Lena’s goals were simple: not to marry, yet, make something of herself. Within the book entitled, ‘Lena Lingard,’ Lena has a discussion with Jim about her unwillingness to wed. She would “prefer to be foolish when [she] feels like it, and be accountable to nobody.” In ‘The Hired Girls’ Lena stated her desire to go into business. A later paragraph expressed her wish to become a teacher. However, Lena found this goal impossible because she was not “born smart.”
Motivation was something that Lena never lacked. “I’m going to get my mother out of that old sod house where she’s lived so many years. The men will never do it.” Lena took her mother’s fate into her own hands when it was not socially acceptable for her to do so.
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