"Stunning Description": Essay on Chapter 19 of the book "My Antonia" by Willa Cather

Essay by supercoolcardA+, October 2007

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Willa Cather's style in Chapter XIX of My Antonia is very descriptive. The language used by the author paints a vivid, living picture of the scene in the reader's mind. This beautiful description enables the reader to feel as if he or she were actually a part of the story, standing in the middle of the corn fields.

Throughout the paragraph, Cather uses a combination of simple sentence structure and diction and thought-provoking, intriguing writing that allows the reader to feel as if he were a character in the novel. Cather writes, "It seemed as if we could hear the corn growing in the night; under the stars one caught a faint crackling in the dewy, heavy-odoured cornfields where the feathered stalks stood so juicy and green" (88). This passage makes the cornfields seem real to the reader by stimulating the reader's sense of sound, sight, and smell. This type of prose allows the reader to experience the stalks of corn rather than simply reading about them.

It opens up the reader's imagination, letting him feel like he is a part of the scenery, a part of the story. Cather also writes, "The cornfields were far apart in those times, with miles of wild grazing land between" (88). This sentence continues the raw description given previously in the paragraph and also carries a personable shade to it. The simple, yet descriptive prose employed in the passage makes the reader feel at home in the setting. Without need for more complex words, Cather simply writes, "far apart," and "in those times," a style of writing that more closely might approximate the reader's thoughts he would have as he viewed the scene in person.

Cather's style of writing in this paragraph is extremely personally descriptive and yet simple and concise. Although Cather wastes no time with complicated diction and sentence structure, Cather describes the scene in such a way as to invoke a feeling upon the reader of actually being present in the story. This writing style proves efficient and yet descriptive; simple yet effective; facile yet concise. The reader is able to picture himself standing in the middle of a vast cornfield, smelling the odors of the vegetation, hearing the crackling of the rigid stalks, and gazing upon the grand, alluring corn fields.