My Ántonia (Dover Thrift Editions)
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My Ántonia evokes the Nebraska prairie life of Willa Cather's childhood, and commemorates the spirit and courage of immigrant pioneers in America. One of Cather's earliest novels, written in 1918, it is the story of Ántonia Shimerda, who arrives on the Nebraska frontier as part of a family of Bohemian emigrants. Her story is told through the eyes of Jim Burden, a neighbor who will befriend Ántonia, teach her English, and follow the remarkable story of her life.
Working in the fields of waving grass and tall corn that dot the Great Plains, Ántonia forges the durable spirit that will carry her through the challenges she faces when she moves to the city. But only when she returns to the prairie does she recover her strength and regain a sense of purpose in life. In the quiet, probing depth of Willa Cather's art, Ántonia's story becomes a mobbing elegy to those whose persistence and strength helped build the American frontier.
he told us that in the immigrantcar ahead there was a family from “across the water” whose destination was the same as ours. “They can’t any of them speak English, except one little girl, and all she can say is ‘We go Black Hawk, Nebraska.’ She’s not much older than you, twelve or thirteen, maybe, and she’s as bright as a new dollar. Don’t you want to go ahead and see her, Jimmy? She’s got the pretty brown eyes, too!” This last remark made me bashful, and I shook my head and settled down to
start a hymn, Fuchs? It would seem less heathenish.” Fuchs glanced about to see if there was general approval of her suggestion, then began, “Jesus, Lover of my Soul,”j and all the men and women took it up after him. Whenever I have heard the hymn since, it has made me remember that white waste and the little group of people; and the bluish air, full of fine, eddying snow, like long veils flying: “While the nearer waters roll, While the tempest still is high.” Years afterward, when the
down on the table. “This is what I’ve been expecting, Antonia. You’ve been going with girls who have a reputation for being free and easy, and now you’ve got the same reputation. I won’t have this and that fellow tramping about my back yard all the time. This is the end of it, to-night. It stops, short. You can quit going to these dances, or you can hunt another place. Think it over.” The next morning when Mrs. Harling and Frances tried to reason with Antonia, they found her agitated but
tell stories all your life. You are going away to school and make something of yourself. I’m just awful proud of you. You won’t go and get mixed up with the Swedes, will you?” “I don’t care anything about any of them but you,” I said. “And you’ll always treat me like a kid, I suppose.” She laughed and threw her arms around me. “I expect I will, but you’re a kid I’m awful fond of, anyhow! You can like me all you want to, but if I see you hanging round with Lena much, I’ll go to your grandmother,
already at home in my place, had slipped quietly into it, as she did into everything. She told me her business was going well, and she had saved a little money. “This summer I’m going to build the house for mother I’ve talked about so long. I won’t be able to pay up on it at first, but I want her to have it before she is too old to enjoy it. Next summer I’ll take her down new furniture and carpets, so she’ll have something to look forward to all winter.” I watched Lena sitting there so smooth