The Pursuit Of Happiness In Willa Cather's My Antonia

605 Words3 Pages
In Willa Cather’s, My Antonia, narrator Jim Burden defines happiness as “…to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.” As Jim is smart, perceptive, and connected to the people and places of his youth, it is no surprise that this is how he defines his sense of happiness. Would his closest friend, Antonia, agree, though? This essay will explore why Antonia would ultimately agree with Jim’s definition.

While Antonia has endured a number of hardships in her life, she has consistently remained positive throughout these difficult times. Antonia emigrated from Bohemia to a country where she can barely speak the language, but was willing to learn. She watched her father/patriarch of the family suffer lose his battle with depression, but was
…show more content…
Antonia explains,

“`There wasn't a tree here when we first came. We planted every one, and used to carry water for them, too—after we'd been working in the fields all day. Anton, he was a city man, and he used to get discouraged. But I couldn't feel so tired that I wouldn't fret about these trees when there was a dry time. They were on my mind like children. Many a night after he was asleep I've got up and come out and carried water to the poor things. And now, you see, we have the good of them.”

Jim expressing happiness as “to be dissolved into something complete and great,” is comparable to Antonia’s description of the trees’ growth. In Antonia’s life, each hardship was like a seed, and every time a seed was planted, she grew from the experience. Antonia is doing better at this time in her life, and she has seen the good at this point.

In conclusion, Antonia would agree with Jim’s definition of happiness because, after a life of adversity she, in some way, achieved that. She dissolved herself into a better
Open Document