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My Ántonia

My Ántonia

by Willa Cather

Gender Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

They were big and warm and full of light, like the sun shining on brown pools in the wood. Her skin was brown, too, and in her cheeks she had a glow of rich, dark colour. Her brown hair was curly and wild-looking. (1.3.14)

This description of Ántonia makes her sound natural, like part of the landscape herself. What is the relationship between femininity and the natural world in this novel? Is Ántonia less or more feminine because of her ties to nature?

Quote #5

After Ántonia had said the new words over and over, she wanted to give me a little chased silver ring she wore on her middle finger. (1.3.20)

How interesting. There is a subtle reversal of traditional gender roles here in that Ántonia, a woman, is offering Jim, a man, a ring. How do you interpret Jim's reaction to this offer?

Quote #6

…the chill came on quickly when the sun got low, and Ántonia's dress was thin. What were we to do with the frail little creature we had lured back to life by false pretences? I offered my pockets, but Tony shook her head and carefully put the green insect in her hair, tying her big handkerchief down loosely over her curls. (1.6.4)

There's such an interesting mix of delicate femininity and natural, earthy elements in this description. There is mention of Ántonia's thin dress and of her curls, but at the same time she's putting an insect into her hair for safekeeping.

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