by Willa Cather
My Ántonia Youth Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
[Ántonia's] greatest fault, Mrs. Harling found, was that she so often stopped her work and fell to playing with the children. She would race about the orchard with us, or take sides in our hay-fights in the barn, or be the old bear that came down from the mountain and carried off Nina. (2.3.4)
Ántonia's love for children is an important part of her character. It foreshadows the large family she will have at the end of the novel. It also shows that she is a natural motherly figure.
After the apple and cherry trees broke into bloom, we ran about under them, hunting for the new nests the birds were building, throwing clods at each other, and playing hide-and-seek with Nina. Yet the summer which was to change everything was coming nearer every day. When boys and girls are growing up, life can't stand still, not even in the quietest of country towns; and they have to grow up, whether they will or no. That is what their elders are always forgetting. (2.8.1)
Cather doesn't let us forget that My Ántonia is a coming-of-age novel. This is one of those interesting passages where narrator-Jim interrupts the storyline to interject some of his own wisdom in the novel. It's also a chance for Cather to muse about the process of growing up.