Quotations Analysis of My Antonia by Willa Cather

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This is the first time Jim is faced with a conflict in the novel. He must leave his life and in way start over with his grandparents on a farm halfway across the country. But this is a good time for him to start over since “He was ten years old” and can easily adapt to his new surroundings. Because “He had lost both his father and mother”, Jim was presented with a unique opportunity to forge new relationships with the new people around him. For example, he meets Antonia, and they result in having a friendship of a lifetime, which very few people get to have. This shows that in times of loss and grief, there will be signs of opportunity and happiness which you must seize. Since, Jim did just that, he found himself in a life, with its ups and downs, which he thoroughly enjoyed because of the consequences of a conflict.

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As the quote shows, Mr. Shimerda committed suicide because of the homesickness he had for his previous home located in Bohemia. By shooting himself in his family’s desperate time of need, it causes many repercussions on all that surround him. For example, his death made money harder to come about to his family. This resulted in Antonia working in the fields as a farmer and helping out Ambrosch, instead of going to school with Jimmy. This also affected Antonia emotionally because she was very close with her father, and he was her closest confidant. Without him, she didn’t have anybody as close to her and gave a chance for Jim to become that person. This taught Antonia and Jim that no matter how genuine or happy a person can seem, they are always fighting their inner demons (ex. homesickness) in life and that you must have people in your life that will help you get past your bad times. This caused the relationship between Jimmy and Antonia to get closer emotionally, even though they spent far less time together physically.

As the quotation suggests, Jake and Ambrosch got into a fight because of the way Ambrosch treated the horse-caller given to him by Mr. Shimerda. When Jake was sent to retrieve it, he found it in such bad condition, he became furious, and after that, the fight started. This fight caused many tensions in the relationship between Antonia and Jim, even though it was Jake and Ambrosch who fought. Antonia and Jim grew further apart. Antonia even insulted Jake when the met. Antonia in this case values family over friendship, and this shows her immaturity. Even though Jim didn’t do anything, she blames him for what happened to Ambrosch and sees no fault in how Ambrosch treated the collar and how he tried to “kick at Jake’s stomach” first. In this part of the novel, Jim encounters “the biggest snake he had ever seen”. But instead of running away, he decides to fight it and he “drove at his head with his spade”. By fighting it off, not only did he manage to survive a snake attack, but he also gained Antonia’s respect, which he always wanted to get. On page 30, the passage states “Much as he liked Antonia, he hated the superior tone she sometimes took with him… Before the autumn was over, she began treating him more like an equal… This change came about from an adventure they had together,” (Cather). This quote shows Jim’s despise to the way Antonia had that “superior tone” over him. Jim wants Antonia to treat him equally, so when he encounters the snake, one earning respect is more important that guaranteeing one’s safety; thus Jim decides to prove to Antonia that he is as mature, if not more, by fighting the snake.

As the quote shows, Jim feels that the towns people don’t understand and respect the foreign girls. Whenever Jim tried to reason with the town people, “they looked at him blankly”. To the townspeople, foreign girls are nothing but “hired girls” who work for them. He also believes that Mr. Shimerda has the most “intelligence or cultivation” out of any person. This portrays how close Jim’s relationship with the Shimerdas is and how meeting Mr. Shimerda has changed his life. Also, this quote shows Jim’s forward thinking and how he is different from the peers around him. He doesn’t mind thinking differently from the rest of the town. In this case, Jim values what he truly thinks/feels over how others think/feel about him, thus he decides to do take the side of the foreign girls. As the quote shows, Jim is in college, and has matured a lot. This is because he decides to “stay in Lincoln” over the summer. And in Lincoln, he is not fooling around and wasting time like he used to in Black Hawk, instead, he is “working off a year’s Greek”. The Jim portrayed in this moment, is very different from the Jim portrayed on a farm, or in Black Hawk. For example, in Black Hawk, he used to go to the Firemen’s Hall without his grandparents’ approval. Now, without anybody’s help, Jim is making the smarter decisions in his life and is finally maturing. He does this knowing, that in Black Hawk, he might see his friends and family and if he doesn’t go, it might hurt some of the relations he has with them. In this case Jim values hard work and success over having fun and relationships, thus, he decides to stay in college over the summer to study.

In this quotation, Jim explains the reasons why he hasn’t gone to visit Antonia in the past 20 years. His first reason is because of “the cowardice”, which means lack of bravery. He was scared of finding her “aged and broken”. This is because of the things everyone tells him. He knows that Antonia has struggled a lot and still lives on the farm. Jim’s second reason was that he knows that nothing can be better than his childhood memories. He doesn’t want to forget his childhood and “lose his early ones”. This feeling of nostalgia prevents him from restoring his relationship with Antonia. In this case, Jim chooses self-preservation of one’s memories over confronting his inner demons, thus he decides to not visit Antonia for 20 years.As this quotation suggests, the Burdens decide to move to the town of Black Hawk. But since Jake and Otto are no longer needed to do the farm work, they must find another place to work. But the Burdens do provide them with the option of living in the town of Black Hawk. Otto wants to “go back to what he called the “wild West”, and he lures Jake into his beliefs. This shows how credulous and naive Jake is. He is ready to venture off to a place he has never been before, solely based off incredible and adventurous stories he has heard. Otto, on the other hand, displays his strong-minded attitude. He wants to go back to the place he initially came from, and nothing will change his mind. But both the boys choose one’s dreams and adventures over one’s comfort and safety, thus, they decide to travel away from the Burdens to look for a job in an unknown territory.

As the quote shows, Jim is revealing the fact that he is leaving to go study at Harvard to Lena Lingard. The reason behind this decision is that when he is with Lena, “he doesn’t think of much else” and can’t focus. Because of that, he must leave to Harvard, so that he can pursue his goal without any distractions. This decision hurts both Jim and Lena, as they have bonded to become very close friends now. But this just adds to the fact of how mature Jim is. As much as he wants to stay in Lincoln, he knows the right thing to do for him and his career is to go to Harvard to “settle down and grind”. In this case, Jim chooses his career over his friendship, and his head over his heart.

As the quote portrays, Antonia’s fiancé left her alone after using her for her money. Larry, Antonia’s fiancé, also left her with a child. This causes many hardships for Antonia because not only is it hard for her to manage the farm, but now she has a child as well. This conflict resulted from Antonia’s naiveté. All her peers and neighbors warned her not to marry Larry because of the risky and tricky personality he has. But her love for him blinded her from the truth. Now, “she doesn’t know if he ever meant to marry her.” Antonia had been living under a fantasy she created for herself, instead of the reality. In this case, Antonia chooses her fantasy over reality, her heart over her head, thus, paying the consequences for her decision.

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