My Antonia

Cather, Willa

Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016
ISBN 10: 1530366631 / ISBN 13: 9781530366637
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Synopsis: My Antonia tells the stories of an orphaned boy from Virginia, Jim Burden, and the elder daughter in a family of Bohemian immigrants, Ántonia Shimerda, who are each brought to be pioneers in Nebraska towards the end of the 19th century, as children. Ántonia must work as a servant on the farms of her neighbors after her father commits suicide. She elopes with a railway conductor but returns home and eventually becomes the patient and strong wife of a Bohemian farmer, Anton Cuzak, the mother of a large family and a typical woman of the pioneer West.

My Ántonia is considered one of Willa Cather’s best works. It is the final book of her prairie trilogy of novels, preceded by O Pioneers! and The Song of the Lark.

Review: It seems almost sacrilege to infringe upon a book as soulful and rich as Willa Cather's My Ántonia by offering comment. First published in 1918, and set in Nebraska in the late 19th century, this tale of the spirited daughter of a Bohemian immigrant family planning to farm on the untamed land ("not a country at all but the material out of which countries are made") comes to us through the romantic eyes of Jim Burden. He is, at the time of their meeting, newly orphaned and arriving at his grandparents' neighboring farm on the same night her family strikes out to make good in their new country. Jim chooses the opening words of his recollections deliberately: "I first heard of Ántonia on what seemed to be an interminable journey across the great midland plain of North America," and it seems almost certain that readers of Cather's masterpiece will just as easily pinpoint the first time they heard of Ántonia and her world. It seems equally certain that they, too, will remember that moment as one of great light in an otherwise unremarkable trip through the world.

Ántonia, who, even as a grown woman somewhat downtrodden by circumstance and hard work, "had not lost the fire of life," lies at the center of almost every human condition that Cather's novel effortlessly untangles. She represents immigrant struggles with a foreign land and tongue, the restraints on women of the time (with which Cather was very much concerned), the more general desires for love, family, and companionship, and the great capacity for forbearance that marked the earliest settlers on the frontier.

As if all this humanity weren't enough, Cather paints her descriptions of the vastness of nature--the high, red grass, the road that "ran about like a wild thing," the endless wind on the plains--with strokes so vivid as to make us feel in our bones that we've just come in from a walk on that very terrain ourselves. As the story progresses, Jim goes off to the University in Lincoln to study Latin (later moving on to Harvard and eventually staying put on the East Coast in another neat encompassing of a stage in America's development) and learns Virgil's phrase "Optima dies ... prima fugit" that Cather uses as the novel's epigraph. "The best days are the first to flee"--this could be said equally of childhood and the earliest hours of this country in which the open land, much like My Ántonia, was nothing short of a rhapsody in prairie sky blue. --Melanie Rehak

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Title: My Antonia
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: 2016
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Book Description Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, United States, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.My Antonia tells the stories of an orphaned boy from Virginia, Jim Burden, and the elder daughter in a family of Bohemian immigrants, Antonia Shimerda, who are each brought to be pioneers in Nebraska towards the end of the 19th century, as children. Antonia must work as a servant on the farms of her neighbors after her father commits suicide. She elopes with a railway conductor but returns home and eventually becomes the patient and strong wife of a Bohemian farmer, Anton Cuzak, the mother of a large family and a typical woman of the pioneer West. My Antonia is considered one of Willa Cather s best works. It is the final book of her prairie trilogy of novels, preceded by O Pioneers! and The Song of the Lark. Bookseller Inventory # APC9781530366637

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Book Description Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, United States, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. My Antonia tells the stories of an orphaned boy from Virginia, Jim Burden, and the elder daughter in a family of Bohemian immigrants, Antonia Shimerda, who are each brought to be pioneers in Nebraska towards the end of the 19th century, as children. Antonia must work as a servant on the farms of her neighbors after her father commits suicide. She elopes with a railway conductor but returns home and eventually becomes the patient and strong wife of a Bohemian farmer, Anton Cuzak, the mother of a large family and a typical woman of the pioneer West. My Antonia is considered one of Willa Cather s best works. It is the final book of her prairie trilogy of novels, preceded by O Pioneers! and The Song of the Lark. Bookseller Inventory # APC9781530366637

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