Theme Of Immigration In Willa Cather's My Antonia

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Challenges of Immigration: The Shimerda’s Struggle Willa Cather’s novel, My Ántonia sheds light on the topic of immigration. Immigrants have many different reasons for why they might migrate to the United States. Some were trying to escape something from their old country such as avoiding a war, trouble with the law, or shame as is the case of the Russians Pavel and Peter. Reasons for immigrating could also relate to chasing the American dream as is the case with the Shimerdas. Challenges and hardships encountered by foreigners immigrating into the United States are demonstrated through Jake’s experiences with the Shimerdas, the Russians, and other foreigners. Due to the Shimerdas limited capacity to speak, read, write, and understand …show more content…

You can’t trust ’em to be fair.”(84), but these Americans like Jake were immigrants themselves only a few generations ago. Assimilating to American culture takes time along with learning the language and social norms. The first few generations are the most difficult, but afterwards the immigrants can be accepted as American people and in many cases slowly become more and more successful as time goes on. The Shimerdas were aware of this, as Atonia explains to Jim shortly after New Year’s Eve why her family would be able to pay off a debt to the Burdens.”But my mama, she want Amrosch for be rich”(59). Immigrants come for the future generations, “For Ambrosch my mama come here.”(59). It won’t be Mr. and Mrs. Shimerda that become wealthy, CONJUNCTIONit takes time to become established. The generations to come, and to a certain degree Ambrosch and Antonia will be the ones to live a better life. In fact, life in America for the Shimerdas is more difficult than in Bohemia. Antonia transltes Mr. Shimerdas words to Jim’s grandmother after recieving help from the Burdens, “he wanted us to know they were not beggars in the old country”(50). The Shimerdas were a well respected and self-sustaining family in Bohemia, but America has been tough on them. The Shimerdas are somewhat reliant on the generosity of their neighbours who also build the

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