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Analysis

Literary Devices in My Ántonia

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Let's take a look at the text before diving into a description of this symbol.Presently we saw a curious thing: There were no clouds, the sun was going down in a limpid, gold-washed sky. Just as th...

Setting

The fictional town of Black Hawk Nebraska is based on the real-life Red Cloud, Nebraska, where Cather grew up. Many of her other prairie novels – such as O Pioneers!, are also based on her ex...

Narrator Point of View

Because Jim is looking back at the events of his youth from the perspective of an adult, we have two different Jims to think about. We have Jim-the-narrator, the wise adult, and Jim-the-character,...

Genre

Looks like we've got a lot of categories to cover here. "Coming-of-Age" is an easy one. Jim starts the story as a ten-year-old and we follow him through puberty to the ripe old age of 22-ish before...

Tone

The author's attitude toward the subject material is made evident by her decision to use the form of a memoir (albeit it a fictional one). Jim's memoir is nostalgic and is dominated by a romanticiz...

Writing Style

A lot of the text in My Ántonia is devoted to lengthy, indulgent descriptions of the natural landscape. We'll take a look at a short example:As I looked about me I felt that the grass was the...

What's Up With the Title?

The phrase "My Ántonia" is an interesting one and comes up more than once in the course of the text. We see Jim-the-narrator choose this as a title for his memoir during the introduction. He s...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

Optima dies…prima fugit– VirgilThis quote comes from the Georgics, an instructive poem written about farming by the epic Roman poet Virgil and translates to "The best days…are the...

What's Up With the Ending?

Book 4 ends with Jim promising to come back and visit Ántonia soon. Then twenty years pass without him doing so. He justifies this by explaining that he was scared: "I did not want to find her age...

Plot Analysis

Many scholars identify My Ántonia as a modernist novel, which, among other things, means that it defies typical plot structures like the good old Classic Plot. To start, think about the way th...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: None

Many scholars identify My Ántonia as a modernist novel, which, among other things, means that it defies typical plot structures. To start, think about the way that this novel is structured. My...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Jim meets Ántonia and the two become friends; the Shimerdas manage until a tough winter leaves them out in the cold, and Mr. Shimerda commits suicide.Jim moves to town. Ántonia, Tiny, and...

Trivia

In his 1946 novel All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren names his main character "Jack Burden." We wonder if he got the idea from Cather.Then again, Cather took the name "Jim Burden" from a grocer...

Steaminess Rating

Perhaps because Cather was writing in 1918, most of the sex in My Ántonia is sub-textual. First there is the relationship between Ántonia and Jim, which on the surface is about as chaste...

Allusions

Life of Jesse James, a dime novel (1.1.2)Johann David Wyss, The Swiss Family Robinson (1.9.8)Virgil, Georgics (epigraph, 3.2.2)Virgil, The Aeneid (3.2.3)Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1.14.26) Benj...
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