My Antonia Character Analysis

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Throughout the novel My Antonia by Willa Cather, the character Antonia Shimerda learns several life lessons that significantly influence her life as a young woman and into her adult years. According to the dictionary a life lesson is “something from which useful knowledge or principles can be learned.” As an bohemian immigrant Antonia gains knowledge of the American lifestyle which is able to teach her how to progress through life’s many challenges. Three major lessons that contributed to developing her into a loving mother and rich mine of life include her open- mindedness, optimism, and maturity regarding hard work at a young age. To begin, Antonia learns to be open- minded despite the troublesome situations she experiences during the course…show more content…
Throughout the novel Antonia remains an optimistic character who always sees the glass as half full. This sense of optimism allows her to truly see and appreciate the beauty in nature and all people. She was very similar to her father in this sense, but her willingness to trust everyone leads to some of her greatest struggles. A key example of this is Larry, her fiance who abandoned and her with their child. There were rumors about Larry and his playboy nature, but Antonia choose to see the good in him and was even prepared to be married to a man who did not care as deeply for her as she believed. “The trouble with me was, Jim, I never could believe harm of anybody I loved” (5.1.189). Antonia says this to Jim as they are looking back on their lives as adolescents which proves how she learned from her previous experiences not to instantly be so trusting of everybody she meets. In a more positive sense, Antonia’s optimism enabled her to be accepting of what she had, and never wish for more. Unlike her acquisitive mother, Antonia was always content with her life on the farm and never felt it necessary to beg and want what other people have. These are only a few of the ways Antonia learns of the results of her optimism, and she is later able to apply this optimism to raising her all of her children in a positive environment. Specifically, she was able to take pride in her first- born baby despite how others would shame her for having a child out of
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