My Antonia And Willa Cather

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My Ántonia by Willa Cather is a novel that is based on the memories of the protagonist, Jim Burden. Many critics have assessed this novel, and they have focused on such literary elements as symbolism, motif, and characterization. Although, the most agreed upon argument is the one that says that the groundwork of every section of the book is based on the personal memories of Willa Cather. It seems that her ideas for characters, settings, and plots all come from her own personal memories. In the introduction, Cather’s description of Jim could easily be a description of herself. It is possible that Cather has camouflaged herself as Jim Burden in My Ántonia because many of Jim’s thoughts and feelings in the novel were Cather’s own thoughts and feelings while growing up. Also, like Jim, Cather enjoyed visiting with immigrant neighbors, she had a love for the classics and for drama; and, like Jim, when he was middle-aged, she revisited “Ántonia” A.K.A. Anna Sadilek, her model for the character Ántonia, and renewed their friendship. This reunion inspired Cather to begin writing My Ántonia. Willa Cather was considered to be one of the best writers about pioneer life during the 20th century. Cather was born in rural Virginia in 1873 and moved with her family to Red Cloud, Nebraska in 1883. At this time, most of Nebraska could be described as unforgiving and harsh, and Cather’s first impressions of the land filled her with both trepidation and wonder. Willa Cather’s writing celebrates the settings of Webster County, Lincoln, and Red Cloud, Nebraska. She vividly conveys the unforgettable impression that the land possesses- power, strength, American folklore, and symbolic meaning. Therefore, it is much more than a place on the map to her- it has an existence of its own. Willa Cather said in her later years about Nebraska: “that country was the happiness and the curse” of her
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