My Antonia Feminist Analysis

1112 Words5 Pages
In My Antonia, a historically-based novel about Western settlers, Willa Cather paints powerful picture of the culture of the American prairie. Two children, destined for opposite lives based on their backgrounds. Many themes are explored in this novel, from suffering to love to feminism. Feminism, and the view of women as objects, is a main struggle of pioneer society in My Antonia. Throughout the story, Jim’s mind is constantly on Antonia, and there is something about her that separates her from any other woman. She is wild and free, untamed by the society around her. In Jim’s thoughts about Antonia, he somewhat minimizes her struggles and focuses on the way she makes him feel. It is even said, “More than any other person we remembered, this girl seemed to mean to us the country, the whole adventure of our childhood” (p. 5). Jim romanticizes Antonia as an idea and a feeling instead of acknowledging her as a person with hardships and flaws, and she becomes a symbol of everything unattainable in Jim’s life throughout the novel. Prairie life can be the best or worst…show more content…
Antonia, as hard-working as any man or woman in the West, never reaches Jim’s definition of success. Yet, he still views her through “rose-colored glasses: “She lent herself to immemorial human attitudes which we recognize by instinct as universal and true… but she still had something which fires the imagination” (p. 261). Jim has and always will perceive Antonia as a fleeting emotion and an idea of rugged yet lovely strength. The tragic flaw in his view of her is this: Antonia is not an unsinkable pillar of fire and bravery. She is but a woman. Moreover, she is a woman who has been broken down to her lowest and survived, but not without wounds. She carries on, but not as the same young, carefree, barefooted girl that so often runs through Jim Burden’s
Open Document