My Ántonia Study Guide

My Ántonia Study Guide

Original title:
My Ántonia

“My Antonia” is a prominent novel by American writer Willa Cather. It is the last and the best work of her Prairie Trilogy, which begins with “O Pioneers!”, and is followed by “The Song of the Lark.”

This novel is a real story about the fate of immigrant settlers who mastered the lands of the American West at the turn of the century.

The turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Antonia is the eldest daughter of the Shimerdas, immigrants from the Czech Republic, settlers in faraway rural Nebraska. She is a courageous and careless young girl who becomes the aim of narrator Jim Biden's attention. Jim is an orphan boy from Virginia. The role of Jim is very important in the story - he is a storyteller, with his eyes we can see Antony, her family, her surroundings and the life of a distant town on the American border. Love, nostalgia, and kindness penetrate in this story, consisting of memories, pleasant and hard, happy and tragic. The first year of life in a brand new place leaves a strong impression on children, which they will remember for life.

The mother of the Shimerdas family asks Jim to teach her children to read in English. There is a strong friendship between Jim and Antonia. Romance from the contemplation of nature is infused into children's souls. Joy is replaced by grief when Antonia’s father kills himself because of problems and longing for his home. Antonia is forced to work hard. The girl is busy with order and cleanliness, she studies the basics of housekeeping, builds relationships with children. The years go by. Jim is fully plunged into his studies. He becomes a successful lawyer. His wife is partly sweetheart; she loves pathos and luxury. But Jim still remains a simple man. He is still in touch with Antonia, who is not lucky to get a good husband. Favorite man, from whom Antonia has given birth to a child, has left her.

“My Antonia” is about the hard life of the settlers, but in the first place, it is a story about love.

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