My Antonia by Willa Cather

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Solange1126
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My Antonia by Willa Cather

Post by Solange1126 » 25 Sep 2012, 13:34

Recently I joined a book club in my little town and the book of the month was My Antonia by Willa Cather. It's a story told in first person by one of the main characters, Jim Burden. The story is basically about how Jim meets Antonia whose family is from Bohemia. Antonia is a young woman of 14, a few years older than Jim. They are neighbors in Black Hawk, a rural town in Nebraska.

The story takes you through the hardships that an immigrant family faces when setting up a new home in the states. Antonia seems to see positive in everything she does and is quite an independent young lady. She works hard helping her brother Ambrosch on the farm, often taking on heavy type of work suited for men. The story continues with her working for others and into her young adult years.

If you live in a rural area, you particularly would like this book because it brings to life the past that you can almost imagine seeing. There are some brutal scene described in the book which adds action to the story. Also, one keeps reading to see if there is a love relationship that grows between Jim and Antonia. Ms. Cather does a tremendous job of portraying each person in the story and bringing to life their individual personalities.

Also, in 1995 a film was made based on the story of My Antonia. I haven't seen the movie and look forward to seeing it. I was able to download the Kindle edition for free from Amazon.

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DATo
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Post by DATo » 19 Nov 2012, 10:36

This is one of Cather's best books. I have read it several times in my life and enjoyed it very much each time. A very good book for discussion too as Cather employes many very interesting ideas, techniques and subtle twists.
“I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.”
― Steven Wright

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Post by Leo_Stillinger » 02 Feb 2013, 14:59

Read this and was pleasantly surprised. Thought it would be an old-fashioned, boring book after the first few pages, but it turned out to be endearing and nice. The narration is so smooth and eloquent.

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Post by Twins2223 » 03 Apr 2013, 03:12

I just got the free edition on my IPhone ..I am a farm girl and I think I will enjoy this book very much! It will be neat to go back to the old days on the farm .. The days before all of this modern technology and equipment that we use on the farm now days!! :-)

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Post by Saybelle » 26 Apr 2013, 15:33

Loved it! Read it many moons ago. I also listened to the audio version last year. I can still hear the narrator's voice telling the story. Captivating!

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Post by Gilgamesh » 02 Jun 2013, 13:02

Surprised! Loved it.

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Post by barscoinc » 17 Aug 2013, 20:08

I took a road trip through the Great Plains last winter while working on a book about homesteading. I had My Antonia on my Kindle. It enchanted me and made a great trip read. It is one of the best books I've ever read about misplaced love, and the descriptions of life on the Great Plains are still relevant.

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Gilgamesh
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Post by Gilgamesh » 20 Aug 2013, 14:26

You might enjoy Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, if you haven't already read it.

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Post by barscoinc » 20 Aug 2013, 15:05

I feel sure I read Ethan Frome long ago -- maybe worth a re-read on Kindle.

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Post by GKCfan » 29 Aug 2013, 23:47

It's a beautiful book. My favorite Cather book, though, is "Death Comes for the Archbishop."

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Post by barscoinc » 30 Aug 2013, 03:23

I will look that one up.

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Post by Sveta » 31 Aug 2013, 01:03

When I first read it, I didn't like it, but on my second reading, I enjoyed and appreciated My Antonia. My personal favorite is O Pioneers actually.
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Post by DATo » 31 Aug 2013, 05:27

GKCfan - You are in good company. The finest teacher I ever had, and one whose opinion I respected totally, also cited Death Comes For The Archbishop as her favorite Willa Cather book.

Sveta - Did you happen to notice the comparisons between the two books?

1) A woman's savage struggle to build a homestead.
2) The land itself presented almost as a character in the book.
3) Suicide
4) A retrospective summation tying the past to the present at the end of the book.

Cather's books always seem to display a reverent attitude toward the physical setting of her books. She endows the land with a sort of nobility which only surrenders itself to those worthy of possessing it after hard work and struggle. There is also the subtle intimation that the land never surrenders itself completely, but only allows us temporary access. Only the Land itself can own the land. Those who rest upon it are only squatters despite their legal documents of "ownership". And eventually, after countless individuals have laid claim to it throughout the pageant of history, the land will reclaim itself.

When the moon shall have faded out from the sky, and the sun shall shine at noonday a dull cherry red, and the seas shall be frozen over, and the icecap shall have crept downward to the equator from either pole ... when all the cities shall have long been dead and crumbled into dust, and all life shall be on the last verge of extinction on this globe; then, on a bit of lichen, growing on the bald rocks beside the eternal snows of Panama, shall be seated a tiny insect, preening its antennae in the glow of the worn-out sun, the sole survivor of animal life on this our earth - a melancholy bug.
-William Jacob Holland 1903
“I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.”
― Steven Wright

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Post by jcheiser » 18 Sep 2013, 16:35

I really enjoyed My Antonia, and I have recommended it to many friends and family members. There is so much involved in the book amongst the characters and between the characters and the land (or the characters and the city). What I loved most is that it felt very realistic. There was no traditional happy ending, but that's not to say that there wasn't a happy ending - happy is what you make of it.
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Post by DATo » 01 Dec 2013, 06:21

Bit Of Trivia

President Barack Obama did some Christmas shopping along with his two daughters on Nov. 30, 2013. Included among his gift purchases was a copy of My Antonia.
“I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.”
― Steven Wright

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