by Willa Cather
My Ántonia Gender Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
That snake hung on our corral fence for several days; some of the neighbors came to see it and agreed that it was the biggest rattler ever killed in those parts. This was enough for Ántonia. She liked me better from that time on, and she never took a supercilious air with me again. I had killed a big snake -- I was now a big fellow. (1.7.21)
It's interesting that Ántonia, who flies in the face of all gender stereotypes about women, wants Jim to fill all the stereotypes of a typical man. What do you think is going on here?
"Yes, a new country's hard on the old ones, sometimes," said Anna thoughtfully. "My grandmother's getting feeble now, and her mind wanders. She's forgot about this country, and thinks she's at home in Norway. She keeps asking mother to take her down to the waterside and the fish market. She craves fish all the time. Whenever I go home I take her canned salmon and mackerel." (2.14.24)
The women in this novel take it upon themselves to support their families – a stereotypically masculine role. Yet it is consistently done with a sense of love, not one of obligation.
She was nearly as strong as I, and uncannily clever at all boys' sports. Sally was a wild thing, with sunburned yellow hair, bobbed about her ears, and a brown skin, for she never wore a hat. She raced all over town on one roller skate, often cheated at 'keeps,' but was such a quick shot one couldn't catch her at it. (2.2.3)
We start to get a picture of the author's own views on gender characterization through passages like this one. The characters who break down gender barriers are rendered by Cather with admiration.