By Liza McAlister Williams
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Extra resources for Willa Cather’s My Antonia
Jim and Antonia see their black shadows on the grass. Then they see her father, who has become a shadow of the man he was in Bohemia. Why do you think he is “walking slowly, dragging his feet”? ” When she tells him the story of the last insect of autumn reminding her of Old Hata, why is he so moved? Is he thinking of the homeland? Is he pleased at his daughter’s kind-hearted imagination? Is he cheered by the insect’s last song in the face of death? What do you think is going through his mind? In My Antonia, the weather reflects events and emotions.
There is some tension between the two groups. When the immigrant daughters come to town as hired girls they are looked down on by some of the town families. ” He is right; most of the hired girls end up running successful farms and providing the strong American stock of the Midwest. 6. FRIENDSHIP From her early life onward, close friendships meant as much to Cather as family. That human bond runs throughout My Antonia. Jim is befriended by Jake and Otto; Grandfather Burden befriends the Shimerdas; Lena and Tiny remain close friends all their lives and good friends to Antonia and Jim.
Jim comes home from college in Book IV, the Widow tells him the story of Antonia’s unhappy affair. MRS. HARLING The Norwegian Harlings live next door to the Burdens in Black Hawk, and the stout and spirited Mrs. Harling is a bundle of productive energy. Decisive and enthusiastic, she creates a home which Jim likes to visit as a change from the sedate life of his grandparents. On Mrs. Burden’s recommendation, Mrs. Harling hires Antonia to work for her, and teaches her how to manage a bustling household.