Please respond to these discussion posts from the referenced book.
Book: Cather, Willa. My Ántonia. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1994.
Just a thought, what do you feel Jim represents throughout the reading versus what Antonia represents? I am noticing Jim is portrayed as a “hard exterior personality” that begins to soften up. Antonia is described as a “light personality” and in Jim’s description of her it is as though she breathes life back into things. What are everyone’s interpretations? Why does Jim find so much warm regard for Antonia and do you feel she is the only reason his toughness begins to soften? Just some beginning thoughts to get us going I supporse.
Thank you for starting this discussion! As we can see in the beginning, Jimmy had a hard life at just ten years old, losing both of his parents and living with his grandparents in Nebraska. Here we have Antonia, an Immigrant Bohemian family who call themselves The Shimerdas who did not know an ounce of English. The orphan and the immigrant in Nebraska find some common ground in their situations at such a young age and find comfort in each other.
Right when they first meet, Jimmy she had this glow to her, and he described her eyes as being “big and warm and full of light, like the sun shining on brown pools in the wood” (pg.14), and he could not help but be mesmerized by her when they ran away into the fields with Antonia’s little sister Yulka. So when Mr. Shimerdas gave Jimmy’s grandmother the dictionary, it became Jimmy’s mission to teach Antonia English.
In my opinion, I feel like Antonia sparked optimism, hope, and this willingness to learn that inspired Jimmy to look at the bright side of things despite everything that he has had to go through. He found a new purpose in teaching Antonia English and made his first friend in his new home Nebraska.
Hello class! For this book, I will be your discussion post leader! As I first start to get into the book, I see that The Shimerdas Bohemian immigrants and The Burdens, with Jimmy being an Ophan losing both of his parents, need a fresh start and find themselves in Nebraska simultaneously. One thing that struck me so far is the descriptive landscape with the significance of the sunflower when people are first greeted.
According to Jimmy, “when the long trains of wagons came through with all the women and children, they had the sunflower trails to follow…Nevertheless, the legend has struck in my mind, and sunflower bordered roads always seem to me the roads to freedom” (pg.17), but not only does it resemble freedom but optimism, happiness, peace, etc., like how Antonia resembles those qualities with her big brown eyes resembling the sunflower’s center and yellow, which resembles that glow to her almost memorizing when Jimmy first meets Antonia.
I have noticed a detailed description of the landscape in Nebraska; what colors stand out in the book, and what season does it represent? What are the symbolic elements of the landscape that he describes?