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My Antonia Symbolism

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Willa Cather used symbolism a great deal in My Antonia. One example can be found in book one, chapter six. Antonia had found a grasshopper. “Tony made a warm nest for him in her hands; talked to him gayly and indulgently in Bohemian. Presently he began to sing for us — a thin, rusty little chirp. She held him close to her ear and laughed, but a moment afterward I saw there were tears in her eyes.”[p. 22] This symbol is important because it brings her past memories from Bohemia into the new life she lived in Nebraska. “She told me that in her village at home there was an old beggar woman who went about selling herbs and roots she had dug up in the forest. If you took her in and gave her a warm place by the fire, she sang old songs to the children in a cracked voice, like this.”[p. 22]…show more content…
Before this run in with the snake Jim felt Antonia had a superior tone. She treated him as a “small fellow” since she had 4 years of age and experience over him. “Much As I liked Antonia, I hated a superior tone that she sometimes took with me. She was four years older than I, to be sure, and had seen more of the world; but I was a boy and she was a girl, and I resented her protecting manner.”[p. 24]After Jim stood face to face with this rattle snake, Antonia had a new found respect for Jim and his courage. This symbol shows how Jim’s courage had a lasting impression on Antonia and brought them closer together. This reflects how Cather sees Jim’s adversity with the wild country life, the snake, as a time to grow and to become a “big fellow.” In chapter one of book five Jim finally returns from his long journey through school, to Black Hawk to visit Antonia. At first his new complexion that had developed with age and his work, disguised the new Jim from the old Jimmy Antonia had once been so fond of. Antonia soon recognized Jim and was shocked. “She dropped my hand and began rushing about.”[p.
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