Annotations for My Antonia
Baker & Taylor
The reminiscences of a New York lawyer, Jim Burden, about his boyhood in Nebraska, particularly a young Bohemian girl named Antonia Shimerda, are set against the backdrop of the American assimilation of the immigrant
Random House, Inc.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
Of Ántonia, the passionate and majestic central character in Willa Cather's greatest novel, the narrator, Jim Burden, says that she left "images in the mind that did not fade-that grew stronger with time." The same is true of the book in which Cather enshrines her heroine. On one level, My Ántonia is a straight?forward narrative, written in limpid prose of uncanny descriptive accuracy, about the struggles endured by a family of immigrant pioneers and the small community that surrounds them on the unsettled Nebraska plains. On another, it is a novel that represents a perfect marriage of form and feeling.
In its magnificent tableaux of human beings caught in the toils of an abundant and overpowering natural world, and in the quiet, understated sympathy it displays for life of every sort, My Ántonia is a novel that effortlessly encompasses history and wilderness and the destiny of the individual-even as it lovingly and unsentimentally portrays a woman whose robust spirit and enduring warmth make her emblematic of what Cather most admired in the American people.
Random House, Inc.
The questions, discussion topics, and author biography that follow are designed to enhance your group's reading of Willa Cather's My Antonia and The Professor's House . We hope that they will provide you with new ways of looking at--and talking about--two novels that represent Cather's astonishing powers of narrative selection and juxtaposition; her ability to create believably complex characters who take on mythic dimensions in the reader's imagination, and the historical vision that could celebrate the American past without minimizing its hardships and moral ambiguities.