Connection with Prose: "My Antonia" by Willa Cather

Essay by supercoolcardHigh School, 11th gradeA+, October 2007

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Writing My Ántonia should not have been an easy task for the author, Willa Cather. When Cather had laid out the framework for what would become one of America’s most famous literary works, Cather had created a character so full of lush life and spirit that it would only be possible to accurately portray this unique, vibrant character to the reader through the use of highly illuminating, yet carefully elegant prose. Cather uses honest, gentle dialogue and touching, highly personal description to accomplish this feat and to forge an emotional bond between the reader and Ántonia. This important, profound link between reader and protagonist allows the reader to fully appreciate the glowing beacon of life that is Ántonia Shimerda.

In book I, chapter XVII, Jim asks Ántonia if she would be able to come to school with him. Ántonia tells Jim, “I ain't got time to learn. I can work like mans now.

I can work as much as [Ambrosch] . . . I help make this land one good farm” ( ). Cather uses a simpler, easier style of dialogue to convey Ántonia’s innocent, juvenile perception of her environment. This more direct style of speech allows the reader to see right through Ántonia’s lack of facility for English and into her emotions. Later, when Jim finds Ántonia crying about her not being able to attend school, Ántonia pleads with Jim, “Sometime you will tell me all those nice things you learn at the school, won't you, Jimmy?” ( ) Cather uses Ántonia’s simple, childish style of speech to convey the feeling of Ántonia’s simple elegance. her simple, direct speech allows the reader to gaze directly into her thoughts. This, in turn, forges a deeper connection between Ántonia and the reader and communicates to the reader Ántonia’s feelings very...