My Antonia Essay
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my antonia by willa cather. a story of friends, love, immigration, and most importantly CHANGE. the whole book of my antonia is about CHANGE. antonia CHANGES from an illiterate child from bohemia to an intelligent woman in america. antonia CHANGES from living well off in bohemia to living poorly in america. antonia CHANGES from being an innocent little girl to being a hard working teenager. then there is jim burden, who you could call antoniaís best friend, or you could go a step further and call them soul mates. they moved to nebraska together and they still stayed friends forever. both of them CHANGED their lifestyles and even CHANGED different towns and different jobs and hobbies, yet they still remained friends during their whole life. some of jimís CHANGES included moving from virginia with his parents to black hawk, nebraska with his grandparents and his other CHANGE is moving from the country to town. as you can tell this whole book is about CHANGES.
before i get into all the CHANGES happening in this book, i first want to talk about my antonia and naturalism. naturalism is the age where everyone wanted to simplify everything, including books. my antonia is a good example of naturalism because the whole story is simple, very simple. itís basically, as you heard before in the plot, the story of a boy named jim burden who moves west, meets a girl named antonia shimerda and they grow up from young to old in different parts of the country but throughout their lives they always remain friends. my antonia is about real life and anything insignificant is not portrayed in this book. thatís naturalism for you.
now lets get back to what the theme of the book is, CHANGE. antonia CHANGES from being an illiterate girl from bohemia to being an intelligent woman in america. in the beginning of the story antonia is illiterate. she doesnít know how to read, how to write, or not even how to speak english or understand english very well. the only things she could say are phrases like, "last night he take me for see" ;and "one is fat and all the time laugh." ;the first time she talks with jim she says "name, what name?" ;jim tutors antonia because antoniaís father, mr. shimerda tells jim some words that jim will never forget, "te-e-ach, te-e-ach my an-tonia!" ;as antonia grows up she starts to speak english just as well as all the city girls and you probably wouldnít even know that she was from bohemia if you saw her.
another big CHANGE for antonia is where she lives. antonia CHANGES once to a completely different surrounding. antonia and her family lived in bohemia and were very well off. they had a nice house and many possessions, but then they sold everything to come to america, the land of opportunity. "all the time she (mrs. shimerda) say ;Ďamerica big country ;much money, much land for my boys, much husband for my girls.í" ;antoniaís mom, mrs. shimerda, thought that america would help her family and insure a better life for her favorite kid, ambrosch, antoniaís older brother. they were wealthy in bohemia but when they came to america they had nothing, except for their health, which was deteriorating. "house no good, house no good." ;mrs. shimerda always said that, but they didnít even have a house, they lived in a dugout and their beds were holes in the dirt walls. they hated every minute of it, especially antonias dad, mr. shimerda. "he (mr. shimerda) donít like this kawn-tree...he not want to come, never!" ;
that brings me to my next example of CHANGE, antoniaís CHANGE from an innocent little girl with her dad to a hard working girl without her dad. what?!? what do you mean without her dad? yes, itís true, antoniaís dad, mr. shimerda died. no, mr. shimerda didnít die in his sleep ;he didnít die because off an accidental overdose ;or of falling off a cliff, hitting all the rocks, and falling into an ocean where he was eaten by sharks, he died because he was so tired of living the way he was and he couldnít take it anymore so he got his gun and in the middle of the night he went to the barn and shot himself. "he pulled the trigger with his big toe. he layed over on his side and put the end of the barrel in his mouth, then he drew up one foot and felt for the trigger. he found it alright!" ;mr. shimerda had committed one of the ultimate sins, he killed himself, he committed suicide. antoniaís family couldnít survive without the help of the dad because the only other worker left in the family was ambrosch. antonia had to CHANGE ;she CHANGED from basically a girl to a man. "i ainít got time to learn. i can work like man now...ambrosch do all and nobody help him. i can work as much as him." ;she no longer stayed in the house or worked in the kitchen, she was always out in the fields and always being hired out to help other crop workers who headed some help with their work. she had made a huge CHANGES and sacrifices in her life that would help her family, because they needed it.
jim burden also had CHANGES in this life. jim used to live in virginia with his parents, aunts, and uncles, but within a year both of his parents ended up dying. "i was ten years old then ;i had lost both my father and mother within a year, and my virginia relatives were sending me out to my grandparents, who lived in nebraska." ;jimís aunts and uncles had no other choice but to send him off with his grandparents in black hawk, nebraska. that was jimís first CHANGE, living in the city then moving to the country.
the next big CHANGE in jimís life was the CHANGE that is completely opposite to what jimís first CHANGE was, jim and his grandparents decided to move to town in black hawk. "i had been living with my grandfather for nearly three years when he decided to move to black hawk, nebraska. the major CHANGES were that he begun school, his dadís helpers on the farm, jake marpole and otto fuchs left to california or as they said, the "wild, wild west" ;and most importantly jim, was no longer the next door neighbor to antonia and the shimerda family.
all of the things i have discussed show that CHANGE could be good, but sometime CHANGE can be bad, now if you didnít realized that this book is all about CHANGES, maybe you need to CHANGE your reading habits, or maybe you need to CHANGE your attitude!!!
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