A critical book review of "My Antonia". discusses symbolism, characterization, and an analysis of the themes.

Essay by centralflrexHigh School, 11th gradeA+, November 2004

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My Antonia


Willa Cather

Houghton Mifflin Company

Boston, Massachusetts

Copyright 1918 by, Willa S. Cather

Foreword by: Doris Grumbach

238 pages

Front-of-cover design by: Wendell Minor

USD $5.95

ISBN: 0-395-08356-7

Hailed as, "One of Americas finest pieces of literature" I would have to agree with that.

My Antonia was a colorful book full of exploration, times of life and laughter, and times of heartbreak and sorrow.

In My Antonia , Cather recreates experiences and describes things so vividly in such a way ,that one can easily imagine and feel the full effects; as Cather takes us through the pleasant and then even to some of the almost unbearable harsh lives of the Nebraska farmers and immigrants.

My Antonia perhaps, Cather's most distinguished novel, takes place sometime around the 1880's-1900's, in and around Black Hawk, Nebraska.

My Antonia is a novel based on the memories of the protagonist, Jim Burden. Many critics have criticized this novel, and have focused on such literary elements such as symbolism, motif, and characterization. There is a great deal of symbolism used in this novel, which I will cover among the many other literary elements and devices that are used. The strongest argument however is the one that states that the foundation of every element in the book is based on the personal memories of Willa Cather. The author, Willa Cather, wrote this story based on her childhood. The characters are fictional but are patterned after Cather's family and friends. She paints the story like a canvas; in stages you uncover the plot. The story is told like a memory. Some things are forgotten or hard to see, but some are vivid and filled with details. In My Antonia, the first chapter covers Jim and Antonia's trials and experiences in a year.