My Antonia


THEME
my antonia by willa cather. a story of friends, love, immigration, and most importantly CHANGE. the whole book of my antonia is about CHANGE. antonia CHANGES from an illiterate child from bohemia to an intelligent woman in america. antonia CHANGES from living well off in bohemia to living poorly in america. antonia CHANGES from being an innocent little girl to being a hard working teenager. then there is jim burden, who you could call antonia?s best friend, or you could go a step further and call them soul mates. they moved to nebraska together and they still stayed friends forever. both of them CHANGED their lifestyles and even CHANGED different towns and different jobs and hobbies, yet they still remained friends during their whole life. some of jim?s CHANGES included moving from virginia with his parents to black hawk, nebraska with his grandparents and his other CHANGE is moving from the country to town. as you can tell this whole book is about CHANGES.
before i get into all the CHANGES happening in this book, i first want to talk about my antonia and naturalism. naturalism is the age where everyone wanted to simplify everything, including books. my antonia is a good example of naturalism because the whole story is simple, very simple. it?s basically, as you heard before in the plot, the story of a boy named jim burden who moves west, meets a girl named antonia shimerda and they grow up from young to old in different parts of the country but throughout their lives they always remain friends. my antonia is about real life and anything insignificant is not portrayed in this book. that?s naturalism for you.
now lets get back to what the theme of the book is, CHANGE. antonia CHANGES from being an illiterate girl from bohemia to being an intelligent woman in america. in the beginning of the story antonia is illiterate. she doesn?t know how to read, how to write, or not even how to speak english or understand english very well. the only things she could say are phrases like, "last night he take me for see" and "one is fat and all the time laugh." the first time she talks with jim she says "name, what name?" jim tutors antonia because antonia?s father, mr. shimerda tells jim some words that jim will never forget, "te-e-ach, te-e-ach my an-tonia!" as antonia grows up she starts to speak english just as well as all the city girls and you probably wouldn?t even know that she was from bohemia if you saw her.
another big CHANGE for antonia is where she lives. antonia CHANGES once to a completely different surrounding. antonia and her family lived in bohemia and were very well off. they had a nice house and many possessions, but then they sold everything to come to america, the land of opportunity. "all the time she (mrs. shimerda) say; ?america big country; much money, much land for my boys, much husband for my girls.?" antonia?s mom, mrs. shimerda, thought that america would help her family and insure a better life for her favorite kid, ambrosch, antonia?s older brother. they were wealthy in bohemia but when they came to america they had nothing, except for their health, which was deteriorating. "house no good, house no good." mrs. shimerda always said that, but they didn?t even have a house, they lived in a dugout and their beds were holes in the dirt walls. they hated every minute of it, especially antonias dad, mr. shimerda. "he (mr. shimerda) don?t like this kawn-tree...he not want to come, never!"
that brings me to my next example of CHANGE, antonia?s CHANGE from an innocent little girl with her dad to a hard working girl without her dad. what?!? what do you mean without her dad? yes, it?s true, antonia?s dad, mr. shimerda died. no, mr. shimerda didn?t die in his sleep; he didn?t die because off an accidental overdose; or of falling off a cliff, hitting all the rocks, and falling into an ocean where he was eaten by sharks, he died because he was so tired of living the way he was and he couldn?t take it anymore so he got his gun and in the middle of the night he went to the barn and shot himself. "he pulled the trigger with his