Theme Of Friendship In My Antonia

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My Antonia: Jim and Tony’s Unrequited Relationship
“I’d like you to have you for a sweetheart, or a wife, or my mother or my sister, anything that a woman can be to a man (206).” Jim Burden, a young man, narrated his memories and friendship with a young immigrant named Antonia Shimerda. My Antonia was a novel that showed incapable relationship between two characters, but displayed the real beauty and love in life. Willa Cather’s book illustrated how the main characters created a strong friendship, but, were separated from a relationship by societal norms and expectations. Social barriers were one reason why Jim didn’t pursue Antonia romantically. Antonia, also known as Tony, was a poor, uneducated immigrant that moved in America with her family to find a better life. Jim, on the other hand, was an average, educated youth, moved in Nebraska to live with his grandparents. He remembered how Antonia’s father begged to teach Antonia in English (19). Immigrants were poor that they could not even provide proper education to their children like how Mr. Shimerda asked a ten-year-old Jim to educate a fourteen-year-old Antonia. Thus, their friendship started and grew stronger and closer until Mr. Shimerda took away his precious life, affecting Tony’s fate to do a man’s work, farming. Jim even described her as a tall, strong girl when she reached her 15th birthday and how her arms and throat were brown as a sailor’s (79). These social barriers portrayed a big difference in Jim and
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