Hardship comes in many forms.
Mencken In the mids, not long after I had moved from New York City to Lemmon, South Dakota, I attended a 90th birthday party for a woman who had been one of the original homesteaders in the area, having immigrated from Sweden with her parents in The Lutheran church basement was decorated with crepe-paper streamers, and one table held family photographs — color snapshots of the great-grandchildren, wedding photographs from the s, daguerreotypes of stern-faced ancestors in the Old Country.
Some died so young. Sixteen, maybe … And she has got such a grip upon her materials. The prevailing literary style was for overrefined, predictable, plot-driven novels with characters who held fast to European pretensions and standards of gentility. Along with writers such as Theodore Dreiser and Sinclair Lewis, Willa Cather was seen by some contemporary critics as an answered prayer.
While Europe figures in MY ANTONIA as a lost Eden, or a repository of terrible secrets that haunts the immigrants in their new land, the novel is solidly grounded in America, its language the uncluttered idiom of the farmers and townspeople of Webster County, Nebraska.
She was the first of seven children. Her family settled on a farm near Red Cloud, Nebraska, which had been founded inand by the time Willa Cather arrived, it had a population of about 1, a school, and a small opera house.
The near-treeless countryside could not have been less like Virginia, and the drastic change took a toll on the young Willa Cather.
The wagon jolted on, carrying me I knew not where.
As he is settling in with his grandparents, he notes with wonder that theirs is the only wooden house for miles around, and that their neighbors live in houses made of sod.
His sense of being obliterated by the landscape remains strong: And there was so much motion in it; the whole country seemed, somehow, to be running. At the age of 11 Cather obtained employment delivering mail to the farms around Red Cloud, which gave her unparalleled access to the talk and the lives of her immigrant neighbors.
The knowledge she gained about them, however, set her apart from the other English-speaking settlers. A cultured man, a violinist, he cannot bear the weight of the hardships he encounters in Nebraska — living with his family in a crude dugout and taking turns wearing the one overcoat they own.
Shimerda was a common type among Plains homesteaders. My own great-grandfather Heyward, a proper Englishman, once refused to evacuate a South Dakota parsonage that was on fire until he was fully dressed.
Why read it NOW? What possible relevance can it have for life in urban, postmodern America?She was a rich mine of life: Part 2 of a look at Willa Cather's classic My Antonia WhatsOn Jan 18, Peterborough Examiner AP FILE PHOTO Willa Cather, American author and Pulitzer Prize.
My Ántonia is a novel published in by American writer Willa Cather, considered one of her best works. It is the final book of her "Great Plains trilogy" of novels, preceded by /5(K).
For more information, please contact [email protected] Miriam A.
Gonzales “Between that earth and that sky”: The Idealized Horizon of Willa Cather’s My Ántonia Miriam A. Gonzales At times, it feels like marriage is the only endpoint for literary characters that have been placed in each other’s paths.
MY ANTONIA could know anything about it. It was a kind of freemasonry, we said. Although Jim Burden and I both live in New York, and are old friends, I do not see much of.
Willa Cather’s My Antonia is one of those novels I saw as having faded into a genteel but deserved obscurity. Anything that struck readers in as innovative or shocking had long since become quaint, I believed, leaving little to command the attention of modern men and women.
Willa Cather, My Antonia, Introduction by Walter Havighurst (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, ), p. vi. All subsequent references to this book will be in parenthesis in the body of the paper.
All subsequent references to this book will be in parenthesis in the body of the paper.