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Ántonia, who, even as a grown woman somewhat downtrodden by circumstance and hard work, "had not lost the fire of life," lies at the center of almost every human condition that Cather's novel effortlessly untangles. She represents immigrant struggles with a foreign land and tongue, the restraints on women of the time (with which Cather was very much concerned), the more general desires for love, family, and companionship, and the great capacity for forbearance that marked the earliest settlers on the frontier.
As if all this humanity weren't enough, Cather paints her descriptions of the vastness of nature--the high, red grass, the road that "ran about like a wild thing," the endless wind on the plains--with strokes so vivid as to make us feel in our bones that we've just come in from a walk on that very terrain ourselves. As the story progresses, Jim goes off to the University in Lincoln to study Latin (later moving on to Harvard and eventually staying put on the East Coast in another neat encompassing of a stage in America's development) and learns Virgil's phrase "Optima dies ... prima fugit" that Cather uses as the novel's epigraph. "The best days are the first to flee"--this could be said equally of childhood and the earliest hours of this country in which the open land, much like My Ántonia, was nothing short of a rhapsody in prairie sky blue. --Melanie Rehak
I think Willa Cather is a writer whose work is often overlooked by the general reading public. That is a shame. She wrote six or eight first class novels. Read morePublished 4 days ago by BrokenArrow
My English professor at Texas Lutheran University, Dean Rader, had mentioned this book years ago -- how much he liked it -- and I finally read it -- and loved it. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Bedste
beautifully written - very moving and lots of mid-West history - I loved it!!!Published 10 days ago by C. Parker
Perfect writing, beautiful sentiments. I have read this book twice and will probably read it again in the next 10 yearsPublished 26 days ago by Mireille Lacomere Schild
A classic of American frontier life among the immigrants who populated the west. The style of the book (all narrative) is strikingly different from current fiction, and worth... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Andrew J. Holdaway