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My Ántonia

My Ántonia

by Willa Cather

Man and the Natural World Quotes Page 2

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

As I looked about me I felt that the grass was the country, as the water is the sea. The red of the grass made all the great prairie the colour of winestains, or of certain seaweeds when they are first washed up. And there was so much motion in it; the whole country seemed, somehow, to be running (1.2.14).

In many ways, the land is an external manifestation of Jim's internal feelings. When he feels motion, he sees motion in the land. This is one of many examples, so be on the look out for more.

Quote #5

I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. (1.2.26)

There is an almost religious reverence here for the natural landscape. Religion, of course, is important to the novel and factors into the social issues between the Americans and the immigrants. Reverence for nature is in many ways the common religious ground that all the farmers, of every origin, share.

Quote #6

Soon we could see the broken, grassy clay cliffs which indicated the windings of the stream, and the glittering tops of the cottonwoods and ash trees that grew down in the ravine. Some of the cottonwoods had already turned, and the yellow leaves and shining white bark made them look like the gold and silver trees in fairy tales. (1.3.8)

Some critics have pointed out that Cather spends more time and attention – and lavishes her best descriptions – on the landscape instead of on the people. What do you think about this? If it's true, is that a bad thing? Do you think that this is part of the novel's artistic strategy?

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