How Does Cather Present Jim's Nostalgic Tone In My Antonia

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In Willa Cather’s novel My Antonia, the author reveals the narrator’s nostalgic tone towards his hometown landscape through detail and imagery. Jim’s nostalgic tone towards the land is shown with details when waiting for his friends to meet for a picnic. When he decides to swim in the nearby river, Jim reflects, “For the first time it occurred to me that I should be homesick for that river after I left it… Charley Harling and I had hunted through these woods, fished from the fallen logs, until I knew every inch of the river shores and had a friendly feeling for every bar and shallow” (184-185). Jim implies a close, personal connection with the river by saying that he knew “every inch” of it. The only way to know of all the intricacies of a single place would mean that he often visited that …show more content…

He is “friendly” with “every bar and shallow,” and he admits that he would feel homesick for that place when he leaves it. By recalling such memories, Cather exposes Jim’s nostalgic feelings towards the countryside. Another time when Jim reveals his nostalgic tone towards the prairie using imagery is when Jim visits Widow Steavens. As he approaches Steavens’ house, Jim observes, “I found that I remembered the conformation of the land as one remembers the modelling of human faces” (240). With the simile, Jim compares the shape of the countryside to an artform such as sculpting the human form. There is an intimacy that is expressed here as Jim continues to recollect the setting of his childhood. A face is intricate and complex, and Jim parallels this feature with his detailed knowledge of the land--that is, he understands the countryside’s contours as much as an experienced artist does about people’s features. Through the use of imagery, Cather, once again, reveals nostalgic feelings Jim has about the Black Hawk

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