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    “My Antonia” Book Review (744 words)

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    My Antonia is a fictional story of the pioneer lifestyle. The author Willa Cather wrote this book in 1918. The main character, an orphaned child named Jim Burden moves to Nebraska to live with his grandparents. There he meets the eldest daughter of a Bohemian family, named Antonia. These two characters learn to bond over the love of the land, their families live on. Antonia’s father falls into depression when he lost two of his friends, one to illness and the other to work on the railroad. He becomes unable to provide for his family and Jim’s grandparents invite them over after the snow has melted for a hearty meal. The visitation goes poorly, Antonia mother becomes angry and her Father is saddened. Soon to follow, Antonia’s father commits suicide in their family barn. When the weather turns to spring Antonia works in the fields and can no longer go to school. Jim and Antonia lose the connection they had when they were younger. The Burdens move into town, this way Jim could be closer to school.

    Antonia is hired as a housekeeper for the Burdens neighbor the Harlings. Jim and Antonia’s relationship becomes healed and renewed. Antonia discontinued being friends with other girls and started going dancing every night. She quickly gained a bad reputation with boys and is fired as a housekeeper. Jim sneaks out of the house to go dancing with Antonia, his Grandmother discovers this and Jim does not go again. After Antonia loses her job she goes to work for a moneylender named Wick Cutter. When Jim makes romantic advances to Antonia she dismisses him. After Antonia is almost raped by Wick Cutter, she quits and works for a hotel. Jim goes to Lincoln for college and begins dating Antonia’s friend, Lena Lingard. Jim continues to love Antonia and Lena never wants to get married and their relationship ends. He then transfers to Harvard and returns to the town he grew up in after college. He discovers Antonia has had a child but is not married. He admits his love for her and she dismisses him once again. He becomes a successful lawyer and does not see Antonia for another 20 years. When he returns, Antonia has had 11 children and remarried. Together they review old memories and Jim leaves satisfied that they have bonded once again. The overall message of this story is to learn everything has an ending. Whether it was good or bad, everything must end. For example, Jim’s childhood, his feelings for Antonia, his time with Lena and finally settling down to get married.

    There is multiple factors that play into the overall outlook on My Antonia. To begin, the author captured Jim’s thoughts with great use of imagery. When Jim is contemplating his parents in heaven he thinks, “I did not believe were watching me from up there; they would still be looking for me at the sheepfold down by the creek, or along the white road that led to mountain pastures. I had even left their spirits behind me.” (8). The author highlights major childhood memories that Jim once returns to in the ending of the book; “I struck now from hate. Antonia, barefooted as she was, ran up behind me.” (46). Jim had just struck a rattlesnake which gave a push to his friendship with Antonia that was only new, Antonia then continued to remember and mentioned this horrific and grand memory they shared. Not only did the author use imagery and amazing plot points, but she also chose to write this book in a very interesting way. She wrote the book in five sections The Shimerdas, The Hired Girls, Lena Lingard, The Pioneers Woman’s Story, Cuzaks Boys. By choosing to do this it helped seperate the story up, with different life experiences and turning points.

    I am very happy I chose to read this certain book because it is unlike most books I read. The most common book I chose to read is a modern realistic fiction book. My Antonia followed a unique plot with deciding to break the book up in five parts. The story also focuses on a childhood progressing into adulthood. This way readers such as myself can soak up many details regarding the characters. I would suggest this book to the age range of teenagers to adults. I think this book can mean and be interrupted very differently to people, but younger children would not understand it very well.

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