Hardwork In Willa Cather's My Antonia

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When two people from vastly different walks of life cross paths, they are bound to learn a lot from each other. My Ántonia by Willa Cather is set in Nebraska in the late 1800s and tells the story of the relationship between a Bohemian immigrant, Ántonia Shimerda, and an American boy, Jim Burden. In the beginning of their relationship, Jim teaches Ántonia English as requested by Mr. Shimerda. However, Jim learns more through their relationship because Ántonia inadvertently teaches him things he would not have learned otherwise. Jim learns about the importance of hardwork through his relationship with Ántonia. For example, when discussing the immigrant country girls, Jim states, “But every one of them did what she had set out to do, and sent home those hard-earned dollars” (2.9). The “hired girls” work hard to support their families on the farms, and as a result, their families become successful before the American families. This knowledge of the importance of hardwork helps Jim later in life when he decides to do schoolwork over the summer to get ahead. Without the influence that Ántonia had on his life, he would not…show more content…
Jim describes Ántonia by saying, “[Her eyes] were big and warm and full of light, like the sun shining on brown pools in the wood. … and in her cheeks she had a glow of rich, dark color” (1.3). The use of words like “warm,” “light,” and “sun” shows that Jim sees Ántonia as a source of light in his life; he associates her with warmth and the sun. In addition to describing Ántonia as warm, Jim associates much of the time they spend together with light. Jim describes a time when they are spending time together on the prairie as such: “ … through the magical light of the late afternoon” (1.6). In summary, Cather uses light to symbolize not only how Jim sees Ántonia, but to show what their time together felt like for
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