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My Ántonia

My Ántonia

by Willa Cather

Memory and the Past Quotes Page 1

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

I was ten years old then; I had lost both my father and mother within a year, and my Virginia relatives were sending me out to my grandparents, who lived in Nebraska. (1.1.1)

Because Jim has just been orphaned, an entirely new phase of his life begins as he heads out to live with his grandparents. Moving West to Nebraska represents a "journey" for him in more ways than one.

Quote #2

There was nothing but land: not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made. (1.1.10)

The land is, like Jim, raw material out of which something must form. We see how appropriate the empty Nebraskan landscape is for a coming-of-age story. The country – or at least this part of the country – is coming of age along with Jim.

Quote #3

Once, while [Peter] was looking at Ántonia, he sighed and told us that if he had stayed at home in Russia perhaps by this time he would have had a pretty daughter of his own to cook and keep house for him. (1.5.9)

Jim isn't the only one hung up on nostalgia for the past. The other characters, too, share his idealistic, romanticized view of days and places gone by.

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