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My Ántonia tells the stories of several immigrant families who move out to rural Nebraska to start new lives in America, with a particular focus on a Bohemian family, the Shimerdas, whose eldest daughter is named Ántonia. The book's narrator, Jim Burden, arrives in the fictional town of Black Hawk, Nebraska, on the same train as the Shimerdas, as he goes to live with his grandparents after his parents have died. Jim develops strong feelings for Ántonia, something between a crush and a filial bond, and the reader views Ántonia's life, including its attendant struggles and triumphs, through that lens.
Published: Start Publishing LLC an imprint of NBN Books on
ISBN: 9781625584656
List price: $1.99
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It was a good book, and I am glad I was finally able to read it. However, it wasn't as wonderful as I had heard it to be.more
I loved this book. Cather conveyed beautifully the landscapes and heartaches that made up the story.more
Bittersweet.

Antonia is a bit reckless and completely likable. Her family is from Bohemia (I confess that I had to look up what region this is/was) and settles in a new country with few possessions but a strong work ethic. Every member of her family is strong and opinionated. Her mother is outspoken, bold and really rather funny.

Cather focuses on the settlement of the Midwest and picks a strong set of characters to follow. The story is told from Jim's viewpoint and is based on his memories. There is a nice mixture of personalities and back stories to follow. Jim is a young boy when he first meets Antonia and her family, and despite the language barrier, he is immediately drawn in and they spend many of their days together. I loved this part of the book and enjoyed watching Antonia learn about the culture and language of her new home. She is innocent, lovely and a hard worker. It reminded me of those times in life that are so wonderful but go by really fast.

Jim and Antonia over the years take very different paths which always seem to intersect. Ultimately I wanted to see them married and living happily ever after. They share memories and a very innocent time in their lives. I wanted to know them and be there too!

I listened to the audiobook version by Patrick Lawlor which was very well done. This was my first Cather novel and I enjoyed it very much. My only criticism is that although it was written in a completely different era, some of the racist attitudes were a bit much.more
Very descriptive novel about life in Nebraska for an immigrant family. Mostly takes place on the farm. A look into two people's lives, together and apart.more
I've been listening to this off and on while I knit.more
She makes the Midwest seem exotic!more
"I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep."more
Willa Cather’s My Antonia is a classic, one of the “prairie tales” for which Cather is most famous. The 1918 novel relies heavily on the author’s personal recollection of migrating to a remote section of Nebraska farmland as a small child to tell the story of Jim Burden, a little boy who made that very trek. I decided to reread this one when I was offered a copy of Barbara Bedell’s new “eNotated” version by its publisher, Classics Unbound.What makes this edition of My Antonia different from the usual run of the mill e-book versions already out there, are the dozens of links built into the text that define obscure words and references, many of which were probably more meaningful and familiar to Cather’s readers when her books were originally published than they are today. There are also links to a bibliography, illustrations, photos, an author timeline, a brief history of Nebraska, and several theme explanations. Much of this is meaningful and easy to digest (especially the definitions) within the context of the story, and I found some of the pictures included in the Nebraska history to be particularly fascinating. Most of the material, however, is best explored after completing the novel if one is to feel the emotional impact of My Antonia. Ten-year-old Jim Burden arrives at the remote farm of his grandparents not at all prepared for the isolation in which he will spend the formative years of his life. Although he does not know it, a little girl, Antonia Shimerda, and her family share the last leg of the train ride with Jim and the young man accompanying him to Nebraska. The Shimerdas and the Burdens will come to know each well as Antonia becomes a key figure in Jim’s life, always there but, somehow, still always out of his reach.Just as surprising to me as the first time I read My Antonia, this is really Jim Burden’s story, not Antonia’s. Antonia may be the title character but she disappears for much of the time, and the book is really more about how she impacts Jim’s coming-of-age experience than it is about what happens to her during her own rather harsh life. Cather excels in making her reader feel the isolation and danger faced by those who had the courage to brave an environment like the one in the Nebraska of the second half of the nineteenth century. Those early settlers were lucky to survive, much less to thrive and improve their lot from season to season. But they had the spirit and desire necessary to create a better life for themselves and their children. Life on the Nebraska prairie was definitely hard, but it rewarded the hearty souls willing to test themselves there – if they managed to survive. Bottom line: My Antonia deserves its classic status, and it is as inspiring a piece of fiction today as when it was first published. The eNotated edition is a worthy one that will be particularly helpful to students but interesting to more casual readers, as well. I like the concept and look forward to other volumes from this publisher.Rated at: 4.0more
The narrator is Jim Burden - a prairie boy who moves to Nebraska to live with his grandparents. He is telling the story of himself and his friendship with Antonia, an immigrant girl from Bohemia which stretches three decades although most of it takes place in childhood. The recollection involves several settler-families on the prairie and later on in the town of Lincoln. Nothing more needs to be told about this story. It's just marvelous, entertaining and exciting. Based on Cathers own experiences moving to Nebraska as a child. It is very realistic, one doesn't want to depart with these characters - Antonia is a fascinating character torn between her new hard life in Nebraska and her old home in Bohemia. A hot-tempered girl, a survivor, resourcefull and hard-working. But personally I bonded more with the narrator himself. Admired him in his many decisions and thoughts. There's so much truth in this story, so many real human emotions and experiences told with nuance and depth. Just read it. Or better: Listen to the wonderful audiobook read by Jeff Cummings. We reached the edge of the field, where our ways parted. I took her hands and held them against my breast, feeling once more how strong and warm and good they were, those brown hands, and remembering how many kind things they had done for me. I held them now a long while, over my heart. About us it was growing darker and darker, and I had to look hard to see her face, which I meant always to carry with me; the closest, realest face, under all the shadows of women’s faces, at the very bottom of my memory.more
My Antonia, Willa Cather, Reading a classic is a more civil, more genteel experience. Gone is the fear that on any page there will be unnecessary violent bloodshed, objectionable language, distasteful sexual innuendos, repulsive descriptions and convoluted plots, to name just a few. Also gone is the unexpected startling conclusion. Events progress in a very orderly fashion and while we might not anticipate the ending, we don’t expect astonishing finales. The story is told beautifully, in a direct manner, without the use of extraneous devices or artifice to inspire the reader, instead the emphasis is on the beauty and expression of the language used. Short by today’s standards, this book is less than 300 pages. It is written for a wide age range and is often a book assigned in school for those even as young as fifth or sixth grade. Because it is not written in the often hedonistic style of many of today’s novels, it is appropriate for young and old. The one drawback of the novel for me was that it seemed almost too simplistic, too passé, perhaps not interesting enough for today’s adult reader and might be more appropriate for younger readers, who are still a little naïve, so they can learn about and understand the evolution of our country and its people. Although the story being told is realistic, the reality today is so much more complicated, that the book may seem a bit out of touch without the benefit of analysis and discussion. In some ways we have indeed moved on, but overall, we sometimes seem to be standing in the same place, perhaps a little more sophisticated but by no means, less imperfect. At the tender age of 10, Jim Burden is orphaned and sent from his home in Virginia, to Nebraska, to live with his grandparents. There he meets Antonia, from Bohemia. Although she speaks no English and is four years his elder, a deep abiding friendship soon develops between them. The story is told by Jim Burdon, in the form of his memoir, but it basically is the story of Antonia through his eyes.Antonia is the embodiment of the strong, capable member of the pioneer family. The love of the land and its conquest motivates them. Although their lives are hard, they embrace it, bearing children, suffering hardships of climate, mortgages, ruined crops and failure and even, unfaithful spouses. Cather gives most of her immigrant female characters independent personalities at a time when the difference in class and station was highly evident and emphasized. The upper class women sat at home, perhaps doing their needlepoint. Exertion was considered unseemly. Yet, the farm girls worked the land or worked for families in town doing chores and performing menial labor. In reality they had more freedom of expression and freedom of choice to find their futures. For the sophisticated, refined woman, life consisted mainly of the hearth and home and proper decorum.The novel is easy to read. There are no extra words or confusing extraneous tangents. The reader will find the rather uncomplicated characters endearing with their homespun, earthy, personalities coupled with the real and touching experiences they endure at the turn of the 20th century. Although life was simpler than, immigrants and early pioneers suffered from the most of the same problems society faces today. The relationship of married partners, family members and friends is explored. Loyalty, ambition and greed, class distinction and prejudice, inequality for women, and even enduring hope and fulfillment of one’s dreams, are themes which are also visited in this book. This is a story of life, of survival, of accommodation to hardship. It is not exciting like the modern books of today, but it is beautiful literature about real people and their choices, how they lived and how they died, what they held important and what they held dear.more
Rereading My Antonia was like spotting a familiar face in a crowd somewhere in a country I have never been to before. It was like coming home after forty years away and remembering houses and neighbors. An old familiarity that was somehow comforting and true. I thoroughly enjoyed rereading this classic. Structurally, My Antonia is separated into five different books: The Shimerdas (introducing Antonia and her Bohemian family), The Hired Girls (delving into Antonia's life in town), Lena Lingrad (Antonia's good friend), The Pioneer Woman's Story (Antonia's friend, Tiny's return to the farmland) and Cuzak's Boys (Jim visiting Antonia after a twenty year absence and meeting her large family). The premise of the story is in the introduction. Two friends are traveling by train and reminiscing about Antonia, a girl they both knew growing up. They agree to write their thoughts of her but James Quayle Burden is the only one to do so. He tells the story of growing up on the Nebraska plains with Antonia as his lifelong friend.more
Rereading My Antonia was like spotting a familiar face in a crowd somewhere in a country I have never been to before. It was like coming home after forty years away and remembering houses and neighbors. An old familiarity that was somehow comforting and true. I thoroughly enjoyed rereading this classic. Structurally, My Antonia is separated into five different books: The Shimerdas (introducing Antonia and her Bohemian family), The Hired Girls (delving into Antonia's life in town), Lena Lingrad (Antonia's good friend), The Pioneer Woman's Story (Antonia's friend, Tiny's return to the farmland) and Cuzak's Boys (Jim visiting Antonia after a twenty year absence and meeting her large family). The premise of the story is in the introduction. Two friends are traveling by train and reminiscing about Antonia, a girl they both knew growing up. They agree to write their thoughts of her but James Quayle Burden is the only one to do so. He tells the story of growing up on the Nebraska plains with Antonia as his lifelong friend.more
Jim Burden and his grandparents move to Black Hawk (ie Middle of Nowhere) Nebraska at the same time as a family of Bohemian immigrants. Jim tells the story, but while it is autobiographical, it is as much Antonia's story as his own. Antonia is the middle child of the Bohemians. We watch them age to adulthood. There is no single plot thread, but rather each segment of the book has its own story with the same set of characters.more
A 1918 novel in which a man -- now a successful New York lawyer -- looks back at his rural Nebraska childhood, and particularly at his childhood friend Ántonia, an immigrant from Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic). There's a touching sense of nostalgia to the narrative, and Ántonia, while we only ever see her from the outside, comes across as a very sympathetic character, an interesting mixture of frontier toughness and unpretentious emotion. But the setting is the real star of this story. Willa Cather's deceptively simple prose brings the Nebraska prairie vividly to life from the very first page, and it made me feel as if I were part of that landscape, sharing in a life very different from my own late-20th-century suburban upbringing and yet somehow instantly familiar. I can't imagine ever wanting to live the way these people did, with their constant struggle to earn a living from the land, and yet I also can't quite escape the feeling that maybe they had something important that most of us these days are missing.more
A 1918 novel in which a man -- now a successful New York lawyer -- looks back at his rural Nebraska childhood, and particularly at his childhood friend Ántonia, an immigrant from Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic). There's a touching sense of nostalgia to the narrative, and Ántonia, while we only ever see her from the outside, comes across as a very sympathetic character, an interesting mixture of frontier toughness and unpretentious emotion. But the setting is the real star of this story. Willa Cather's deceptively simple prose brings the Nebraska prairie vividly to life from the very first page, and it made me feel as if I were part of that landscape, sharing in a life very different from my own late-20th-century suburban upbringing and yet somehow instantly familiar. I can't imagine ever wanting to live the way these people did, with their constant struggle to earn a living from the land, and yet I also can't quite escape the feeling that maybe they had something important that most of us these days are missing.more
While I didn’t love this novel, I did like the way the story was told and the emotions it evoked. Living in the western US in the early 20th century was no picnic. I had to laugh at myself and pretty much everyone else in modern society for being such wimps. Antonia worked like a dog and actually liked it. She liked to work as hard as a man did and was restless and bored when she had to live in town. It wasn’t just her, everyone worked themselves to death, but considered it their place; a higher calling even. They were pioneers and that was an amazing thing to them. Not everyone could be one; they were a people set apart. Out in the wilderness carving out civilization an acre at a time.Not all of it was terribly civil though. The attitudes and customs of the newer immigrants were treated with suspicion. In turn the immigrants distrusted the more established Americans and longed for the land they had left. I have to agree with someone in the novel who suggested that they go back if they found it to be so horrible. Instead, one kills himself out of despair rather than learn the language or adapt. It was the beginning of my phase of distaste and outright dislike for Antonia and the rest of her family. They were terrible neighbors and Jim’s grandfather just took it and never taught them a lesson in how to get along. It was a phase though, and when Antonia and the rest of the family began to act like part of the community I fell back into my previous attitude toward her; puzzlement. I couldn’t figure out why Jim (or anyone else) found her so beguilingly attractive. She wasn’t to me. She was just an uneducated farm kid who became an uneducated mother to a herd of kids in the end. She didn’t strike me as anyone special since 100s of other women were in the same position as she was. I didn’t get it and so the story stayed distanced from me, like an old movie I know I’m supposed to appreciate for its artful direction, dialog or photography, but one that just doesn’t light me up inside. I can understand why others love My Antonia; it’s very beautifully written and romantic, but it didn’t reach me if you know what I mean. It stayed remote and untouchable. I couldn’t help comparing it to The Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner and how the story of those pioneering people really did reach me and I could easily imagine them as real people. Cather didn’t bring that home to me with this novel. I can see why some would love it, I’m just not one of them.more
This is a more grown-up version of Little House on the Prairie. It's another look at the challenges of life on the prairie. Not a blockbuster, but a good solid read.more
Our narrator, Jim Burden, reminisces about growing up in Nebraska with a young Bohemian girl named Ántonia. The two became friends at a young age and their lives remained intertwined for decades. Jim teaches Ántonia how to read and write in English and her lust for life inspires him in turn. The story provides such an interesting look at immigrant life in Nebraska. There’s an underlying prejudice against the immigrants and they struggle to fit in. We know very little about Antonia’s father before he dies, but we later learn he loved to read and discuss ideas, but he struggled with the new language and felt completely out of place in America. The language barrier also increases their suspicions of those around them, because they’re constantly worried they are going to be deceived. Though their fears are sometimes justified, it doesn’t go far to make them new friends. I enjoyed the writing in this one, but the story didn’t resonate for me in the same way that Cather’s O Pioneers did. I went into that one knowing almost nothing and loved it so much. I think my expectations were a bit too high for this one. Jim isn’t a very charismatic character and when the plot meanders, we rely heavily on great characters. Luckily the writing is still wonderful, but I was left wanting a bit more.I’m still definitely a fan of her work though and I’m looking forward to trying Death Comes for the Archbishop next, but my expectations might be a bit more tempered. “I wondered if the life that was right for one was ever right for two.”“I liked to watch a play with Lena; everything was wonderful to her, and everything was true. It was like going to revival meetings with someone who was always being converted. She handed her feelings over to the actors with a kind of fatalistic resignation. Accessories of costume and scene meant much more to her than to me.” more
Our narrator, Jim Burden, reminisces about growing up in Nebraska with a young Bohemian girl named Ántonia. The two became friends at a young age and their lives remained intertwined for decades. Jim teaches Ántonia how to read and write in English and her lust for life inspires him in turn. The story provides such an interesting look at immigrant life in Nebraska. There’s an underlying prejudice against the immigrants and they struggle to fit in. We know very little about Antonia’s father before he dies, but we later learn he loved to read and discuss ideas, but he struggled with the new language and felt completely out of place in America. The language barrier also increases their suspicions of those around them, because they’re constantly worried they are going to be deceived. Though their fears are sometimes justified, it doesn’t go far to make them new friends. I enjoyed the writing in this one, but the story didn’t resonate for me in the same way that Cather’s O Pioneers did. I went into that one knowing almost nothing and loved it so much. I think my expectations were a bit too high for this one. Jim isn’t a very charismatic character and when the plot meanders, we rely heavily on great characters. Luckily the writing is still wonderful, but I was left wanting a bit more.I’m still definitely a fan of her work though and I’m looking forward to trying Death Comes for the Archbishop next, but my expectations might be a bit more tempered. “I wondered if the life that was right for one was ever right for two.”“I liked to watch a play with Lena; everything was wonderful to her, and everything was true. It was like going to revival meetings with someone who was always being converted. She handed her feelings over to the actors with a kind of fatalistic resignation. Accessories of costume and scene meant much more to her than to me.” more
I feel a sort of kinship with this book. I wasn’t forced to read it when I was in school, so I approached it with fresh, adult eyes and I think that made the experience one that is an experience to cherish. I also grew up in Nebraska, and it’s so farare that I read stories set there that I felt an immediate connection.My Antonia begins somewhat slow – and after reading a particularly difficult book, I’ll admit, my heart sunk a bit. But once the story got going, once I started being sucked into the narrative of this young boy, I started to fall in love with the writing, the story, and the characters.Immigration, and treatment of immigrants, always provides an interesting topic to read, and write about, and that shows in this book. As an adult, I appreciated much more the hardships and tragedies experienced, then I would have as a teenager, which results in putting Willa Cather on the list of authors I want to experience more of.more
My Antonia is a wonderfully evocative novel of the early settlement of the Great Plains seen through the life of a well rounded, "living" character. A novel that will sweep the reader away while it lasts.more
I read this as a special educator coteaching in the American Heritage classroom. The teachers used this work to develop deeper understandings about challenges facing the early settlers of western expansion. To this end, I think the choice of novel was successful, but My Antonia is so much more. Cather's beautiful depiction of the the landscape and the trials and tribulations of life on the frontier in addition to her round characters facing issues that touch our world even today make this a literary classic. I personally loved the strong female characters Cather describes for the reader and despite their character flaws, one loves them nonetheless because we feel their "humanness." My Antonia provides the reader with lessons learned about tolerance, hard work, gender roles, and the hidden rules of society. A great classic to add to any library!more
I read this as a special educator coteaching in the American Heritage classroom. The teachers used this work to develop deeper understandings about challenges facing the early settlers of western expansion. To this end, I think the choice of novel was successful, but My Antonia is so much more. Cather's beautiful depiction of the the landscape and the trials and tribulations of life on the frontier in addition to her round characters facing issues that touch our world even today make this a literary classic. I personally loved the strong female characters Cather describes for the reader and despite their character flaws, one loves them nonetheless because we feel their "humanness." My Antonia provides the reader with lessons learned about tolerance, hard work, gender roles, and the hidden rules of society. A great classic to add to any library!more
In my opinion My Antonia was so boring. If I wanted to go and read about the prairy then I would go and get a book about the prarie. This book was so boring I felt like it was a waist of my time.more
During "My Antonia" by Willa Cather, I never really understood the point of the book. Yes, it shows grief and happiness, but the only part I understood is how it took Jim so long to get over Antonia because he really loved her, and how he was always there for her when she needed him, like a good friend. In the end, I guess the I saw how Jim wanted to be like a brother for her, if nothing else, because he realized he couldn't change her decision.more
Worst book I've read in like forever. It was so dull nothing really happened in this book. I would have much rather read The little house on the prairie, this book is not to much different but things are going on through out the book.more
My Antonia was very boring and I would rate it a 3 out of 5. I liked learning about the prarie life but its only interesting to a certain point. I could relate this book to Laura Ingalls Wilder books but those are better and more interesting. Antonia seemed really funny and I could just picture a little girl with bright eyes ready to take on the world. I liked reading about Jim being sweet to all the girls, like Lena she was very sassy.more
Part 9: My Ántonia review-Mariah S My Ántonia review: The book My Ántonia by Willa Cather is a classic novel about a boy, Jim Burden who meets a young Bohemian girl Ántonia. From the very start Jim seemed to like Ántonia and even had a crush on her. They always had a very special friendship; having been around eachother so much and Jim teaching Ántonia how to read and write in english. They grow up together in the town of Black Hawk, Nebraska. Not much happens there but they sure kept busy. The Shimerda’s (Ántonia’s family) are Bohemian and all are trying to become familiar with the American ways. Mr. Simerda misses his home country dearly and everyone knew it and could see it. This book showed the happiness, saddness, and comfort of the characters towards one another. As the years went by much happened that caused Ántonia, her family, and everyone in Black Hawk grief. Jim and Ántonia somewhat started going their seperate ways and Ántonia started to forget who she was and where she came from, when she was around different people including Jim. They became adults and Jim eventually leaves Black Hawk and his past behind to go onward to discover his future in New York. He meets once again with former friends and returns to his home town to see what he’s missed. This book shows Jim Burden never giving up his hopes until the end and fighting for what he wants and deserves. He grows much in depth inside and out with all that he has experienced. I give this book a 3 out of 5 star rating. It’s a good historical fiction book that talks about the harships that people once had to face to have a life in America. Also, how not everyone (in my opinion) could or can have what they want even if they do deserve to have it.more
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Reviews

It was a good book, and I am glad I was finally able to read it. However, it wasn't as wonderful as I had heard it to be.more
I loved this book. Cather conveyed beautifully the landscapes and heartaches that made up the story.more
Bittersweet.

Antonia is a bit reckless and completely likable. Her family is from Bohemia (I confess that I had to look up what region this is/was) and settles in a new country with few possessions but a strong work ethic. Every member of her family is strong and opinionated. Her mother is outspoken, bold and really rather funny.

Cather focuses on the settlement of the Midwest and picks a strong set of characters to follow. The story is told from Jim's viewpoint and is based on his memories. There is a nice mixture of personalities and back stories to follow. Jim is a young boy when he first meets Antonia and her family, and despite the language barrier, he is immediately drawn in and they spend many of their days together. I loved this part of the book and enjoyed watching Antonia learn about the culture and language of her new home. She is innocent, lovely and a hard worker. It reminded me of those times in life that are so wonderful but go by really fast.

Jim and Antonia over the years take very different paths which always seem to intersect. Ultimately I wanted to see them married and living happily ever after. They share memories and a very innocent time in their lives. I wanted to know them and be there too!

I listened to the audiobook version by Patrick Lawlor which was very well done. This was my first Cather novel and I enjoyed it very much. My only criticism is that although it was written in a completely different era, some of the racist attitudes were a bit much.more
Very descriptive novel about life in Nebraska for an immigrant family. Mostly takes place on the farm. A look into two people's lives, together and apart.more
I've been listening to this off and on while I knit.more
She makes the Midwest seem exotic!more
"I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep."more
Willa Cather’s My Antonia is a classic, one of the “prairie tales” for which Cather is most famous. The 1918 novel relies heavily on the author’s personal recollection of migrating to a remote section of Nebraska farmland as a small child to tell the story of Jim Burden, a little boy who made that very trek. I decided to reread this one when I was offered a copy of Barbara Bedell’s new “eNotated” version by its publisher, Classics Unbound.What makes this edition of My Antonia different from the usual run of the mill e-book versions already out there, are the dozens of links built into the text that define obscure words and references, many of which were probably more meaningful and familiar to Cather’s readers when her books were originally published than they are today. There are also links to a bibliography, illustrations, photos, an author timeline, a brief history of Nebraska, and several theme explanations. Much of this is meaningful and easy to digest (especially the definitions) within the context of the story, and I found some of the pictures included in the Nebraska history to be particularly fascinating. Most of the material, however, is best explored after completing the novel if one is to feel the emotional impact of My Antonia. Ten-year-old Jim Burden arrives at the remote farm of his grandparents not at all prepared for the isolation in which he will spend the formative years of his life. Although he does not know it, a little girl, Antonia Shimerda, and her family share the last leg of the train ride with Jim and the young man accompanying him to Nebraska. The Shimerdas and the Burdens will come to know each well as Antonia becomes a key figure in Jim’s life, always there but, somehow, still always out of his reach.Just as surprising to me as the first time I read My Antonia, this is really Jim Burden’s story, not Antonia’s. Antonia may be the title character but she disappears for much of the time, and the book is really more about how she impacts Jim’s coming-of-age experience than it is about what happens to her during her own rather harsh life. Cather excels in making her reader feel the isolation and danger faced by those who had the courage to brave an environment like the one in the Nebraska of the second half of the nineteenth century. Those early settlers were lucky to survive, much less to thrive and improve their lot from season to season. But they had the spirit and desire necessary to create a better life for themselves and their children. Life on the Nebraska prairie was definitely hard, but it rewarded the hearty souls willing to test themselves there – if they managed to survive. Bottom line: My Antonia deserves its classic status, and it is as inspiring a piece of fiction today as when it was first published. The eNotated edition is a worthy one that will be particularly helpful to students but interesting to more casual readers, as well. I like the concept and look forward to other volumes from this publisher.Rated at: 4.0more
The narrator is Jim Burden - a prairie boy who moves to Nebraska to live with his grandparents. He is telling the story of himself and his friendship with Antonia, an immigrant girl from Bohemia which stretches three decades although most of it takes place in childhood. The recollection involves several settler-families on the prairie and later on in the town of Lincoln. Nothing more needs to be told about this story. It's just marvelous, entertaining and exciting. Based on Cathers own experiences moving to Nebraska as a child. It is very realistic, one doesn't want to depart with these characters - Antonia is a fascinating character torn between her new hard life in Nebraska and her old home in Bohemia. A hot-tempered girl, a survivor, resourcefull and hard-working. But personally I bonded more with the narrator himself. Admired him in his many decisions and thoughts. There's so much truth in this story, so many real human emotions and experiences told with nuance and depth. Just read it. Or better: Listen to the wonderful audiobook read by Jeff Cummings. We reached the edge of the field, where our ways parted. I took her hands and held them against my breast, feeling once more how strong and warm and good they were, those brown hands, and remembering how many kind things they had done for me. I held them now a long while, over my heart. About us it was growing darker and darker, and I had to look hard to see her face, which I meant always to carry with me; the closest, realest face, under all the shadows of women’s faces, at the very bottom of my memory.more
My Antonia, Willa Cather, Reading a classic is a more civil, more genteel experience. Gone is the fear that on any page there will be unnecessary violent bloodshed, objectionable language, distasteful sexual innuendos, repulsive descriptions and convoluted plots, to name just a few. Also gone is the unexpected startling conclusion. Events progress in a very orderly fashion and while we might not anticipate the ending, we don’t expect astonishing finales. The story is told beautifully, in a direct manner, without the use of extraneous devices or artifice to inspire the reader, instead the emphasis is on the beauty and expression of the language used. Short by today’s standards, this book is less than 300 pages. It is written for a wide age range and is often a book assigned in school for those even as young as fifth or sixth grade. Because it is not written in the often hedonistic style of many of today’s novels, it is appropriate for young and old. The one drawback of the novel for me was that it seemed almost too simplistic, too passé, perhaps not interesting enough for today’s adult reader and might be more appropriate for younger readers, who are still a little naïve, so they can learn about and understand the evolution of our country and its people. Although the story being told is realistic, the reality today is so much more complicated, that the book may seem a bit out of touch without the benefit of analysis and discussion. In some ways we have indeed moved on, but overall, we sometimes seem to be standing in the same place, perhaps a little more sophisticated but by no means, less imperfect. At the tender age of 10, Jim Burden is orphaned and sent from his home in Virginia, to Nebraska, to live with his grandparents. There he meets Antonia, from Bohemia. Although she speaks no English and is four years his elder, a deep abiding friendship soon develops between them. The story is told by Jim Burdon, in the form of his memoir, but it basically is the story of Antonia through his eyes.Antonia is the embodiment of the strong, capable member of the pioneer family. The love of the land and its conquest motivates them. Although their lives are hard, they embrace it, bearing children, suffering hardships of climate, mortgages, ruined crops and failure and even, unfaithful spouses. Cather gives most of her immigrant female characters independent personalities at a time when the difference in class and station was highly evident and emphasized. The upper class women sat at home, perhaps doing their needlepoint. Exertion was considered unseemly. Yet, the farm girls worked the land or worked for families in town doing chores and performing menial labor. In reality they had more freedom of expression and freedom of choice to find their futures. For the sophisticated, refined woman, life consisted mainly of the hearth and home and proper decorum.The novel is easy to read. There are no extra words or confusing extraneous tangents. The reader will find the rather uncomplicated characters endearing with their homespun, earthy, personalities coupled with the real and touching experiences they endure at the turn of the 20th century. Although life was simpler than, immigrants and early pioneers suffered from the most of the same problems society faces today. The relationship of married partners, family members and friends is explored. Loyalty, ambition and greed, class distinction and prejudice, inequality for women, and even enduring hope and fulfillment of one’s dreams, are themes which are also visited in this book. This is a story of life, of survival, of accommodation to hardship. It is not exciting like the modern books of today, but it is beautiful literature about real people and their choices, how they lived and how they died, what they held important and what they held dear.more
Rereading My Antonia was like spotting a familiar face in a crowd somewhere in a country I have never been to before. It was like coming home after forty years away and remembering houses and neighbors. An old familiarity that was somehow comforting and true. I thoroughly enjoyed rereading this classic. Structurally, My Antonia is separated into five different books: The Shimerdas (introducing Antonia and her Bohemian family), The Hired Girls (delving into Antonia's life in town), Lena Lingrad (Antonia's good friend), The Pioneer Woman's Story (Antonia's friend, Tiny's return to the farmland) and Cuzak's Boys (Jim visiting Antonia after a twenty year absence and meeting her large family). The premise of the story is in the introduction. Two friends are traveling by train and reminiscing about Antonia, a girl they both knew growing up. They agree to write their thoughts of her but James Quayle Burden is the only one to do so. He tells the story of growing up on the Nebraska plains with Antonia as his lifelong friend.more
Rereading My Antonia was like spotting a familiar face in a crowd somewhere in a country I have never been to before. It was like coming home after forty years away and remembering houses and neighbors. An old familiarity that was somehow comforting and true. I thoroughly enjoyed rereading this classic. Structurally, My Antonia is separated into five different books: The Shimerdas (introducing Antonia and her Bohemian family), The Hired Girls (delving into Antonia's life in town), Lena Lingrad (Antonia's good friend), The Pioneer Woman's Story (Antonia's friend, Tiny's return to the farmland) and Cuzak's Boys (Jim visiting Antonia after a twenty year absence and meeting her large family). The premise of the story is in the introduction. Two friends are traveling by train and reminiscing about Antonia, a girl they both knew growing up. They agree to write their thoughts of her but James Quayle Burden is the only one to do so. He tells the story of growing up on the Nebraska plains with Antonia as his lifelong friend.more
Jim Burden and his grandparents move to Black Hawk (ie Middle of Nowhere) Nebraska at the same time as a family of Bohemian immigrants. Jim tells the story, but while it is autobiographical, it is as much Antonia's story as his own. Antonia is the middle child of the Bohemians. We watch them age to adulthood. There is no single plot thread, but rather each segment of the book has its own story with the same set of characters.more
A 1918 novel in which a man -- now a successful New York lawyer -- looks back at his rural Nebraska childhood, and particularly at his childhood friend Ántonia, an immigrant from Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic). There's a touching sense of nostalgia to the narrative, and Ántonia, while we only ever see her from the outside, comes across as a very sympathetic character, an interesting mixture of frontier toughness and unpretentious emotion. But the setting is the real star of this story. Willa Cather's deceptively simple prose brings the Nebraska prairie vividly to life from the very first page, and it made me feel as if I were part of that landscape, sharing in a life very different from my own late-20th-century suburban upbringing and yet somehow instantly familiar. I can't imagine ever wanting to live the way these people did, with their constant struggle to earn a living from the land, and yet I also can't quite escape the feeling that maybe they had something important that most of us these days are missing.more
A 1918 novel in which a man -- now a successful New York lawyer -- looks back at his rural Nebraska childhood, and particularly at his childhood friend Ántonia, an immigrant from Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic). There's a touching sense of nostalgia to the narrative, and Ántonia, while we only ever see her from the outside, comes across as a very sympathetic character, an interesting mixture of frontier toughness and unpretentious emotion. But the setting is the real star of this story. Willa Cather's deceptively simple prose brings the Nebraska prairie vividly to life from the very first page, and it made me feel as if I were part of that landscape, sharing in a life very different from my own late-20th-century suburban upbringing and yet somehow instantly familiar. I can't imagine ever wanting to live the way these people did, with their constant struggle to earn a living from the land, and yet I also can't quite escape the feeling that maybe they had something important that most of us these days are missing.more
While I didn’t love this novel, I did like the way the story was told and the emotions it evoked. Living in the western US in the early 20th century was no picnic. I had to laugh at myself and pretty much everyone else in modern society for being such wimps. Antonia worked like a dog and actually liked it. She liked to work as hard as a man did and was restless and bored when she had to live in town. It wasn’t just her, everyone worked themselves to death, but considered it their place; a higher calling even. They were pioneers and that was an amazing thing to them. Not everyone could be one; they were a people set apart. Out in the wilderness carving out civilization an acre at a time.Not all of it was terribly civil though. The attitudes and customs of the newer immigrants were treated with suspicion. In turn the immigrants distrusted the more established Americans and longed for the land they had left. I have to agree with someone in the novel who suggested that they go back if they found it to be so horrible. Instead, one kills himself out of despair rather than learn the language or adapt. It was the beginning of my phase of distaste and outright dislike for Antonia and the rest of her family. They were terrible neighbors and Jim’s grandfather just took it and never taught them a lesson in how to get along. It was a phase though, and when Antonia and the rest of the family began to act like part of the community I fell back into my previous attitude toward her; puzzlement. I couldn’t figure out why Jim (or anyone else) found her so beguilingly attractive. She wasn’t to me. She was just an uneducated farm kid who became an uneducated mother to a herd of kids in the end. She didn’t strike me as anyone special since 100s of other women were in the same position as she was. I didn’t get it and so the story stayed distanced from me, like an old movie I know I’m supposed to appreciate for its artful direction, dialog or photography, but one that just doesn’t light me up inside. I can understand why others love My Antonia; it’s very beautifully written and romantic, but it didn’t reach me if you know what I mean. It stayed remote and untouchable. I couldn’t help comparing it to The Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner and how the story of those pioneering people really did reach me and I could easily imagine them as real people. Cather didn’t bring that home to me with this novel. I can see why some would love it, I’m just not one of them.more
This is a more grown-up version of Little House on the Prairie. It's another look at the challenges of life on the prairie. Not a blockbuster, but a good solid read.more
Our narrator, Jim Burden, reminisces about growing up in Nebraska with a young Bohemian girl named Ántonia. The two became friends at a young age and their lives remained intertwined for decades. Jim teaches Ántonia how to read and write in English and her lust for life inspires him in turn. The story provides such an interesting look at immigrant life in Nebraska. There’s an underlying prejudice against the immigrants and they struggle to fit in. We know very little about Antonia’s father before he dies, but we later learn he loved to read and discuss ideas, but he struggled with the new language and felt completely out of place in America. The language barrier also increases their suspicions of those around them, because they’re constantly worried they are going to be deceived. Though their fears are sometimes justified, it doesn’t go far to make them new friends. I enjoyed the writing in this one, but the story didn’t resonate for me in the same way that Cather’s O Pioneers did. I went into that one knowing almost nothing and loved it so much. I think my expectations were a bit too high for this one. Jim isn’t a very charismatic character and when the plot meanders, we rely heavily on great characters. Luckily the writing is still wonderful, but I was left wanting a bit more.I’m still definitely a fan of her work though and I’m looking forward to trying Death Comes for the Archbishop next, but my expectations might be a bit more tempered. “I wondered if the life that was right for one was ever right for two.”“I liked to watch a play with Lena; everything was wonderful to her, and everything was true. It was like going to revival meetings with someone who was always being converted. She handed her feelings over to the actors with a kind of fatalistic resignation. Accessories of costume and scene meant much more to her than to me.” more
Our narrator, Jim Burden, reminisces about growing up in Nebraska with a young Bohemian girl named Ántonia. The two became friends at a young age and their lives remained intertwined for decades. Jim teaches Ántonia how to read and write in English and her lust for life inspires him in turn. The story provides such an interesting look at immigrant life in Nebraska. There’s an underlying prejudice against the immigrants and they struggle to fit in. We know very little about Antonia’s father before he dies, but we later learn he loved to read and discuss ideas, but he struggled with the new language and felt completely out of place in America. The language barrier also increases their suspicions of those around them, because they’re constantly worried they are going to be deceived. Though their fears are sometimes justified, it doesn’t go far to make them new friends. I enjoyed the writing in this one, but the story didn’t resonate for me in the same way that Cather’s O Pioneers did. I went into that one knowing almost nothing and loved it so much. I think my expectations were a bit too high for this one. Jim isn’t a very charismatic character and when the plot meanders, we rely heavily on great characters. Luckily the writing is still wonderful, but I was left wanting a bit more.I’m still definitely a fan of her work though and I’m looking forward to trying Death Comes for the Archbishop next, but my expectations might be a bit more tempered. “I wondered if the life that was right for one was ever right for two.”“I liked to watch a play with Lena; everything was wonderful to her, and everything was true. It was like going to revival meetings with someone who was always being converted. She handed her feelings over to the actors with a kind of fatalistic resignation. Accessories of costume and scene meant much more to her than to me.” more
I feel a sort of kinship with this book. I wasn’t forced to read it when I was in school, so I approached it with fresh, adult eyes and I think that made the experience one that is an experience to cherish. I also grew up in Nebraska, and it’s so farare that I read stories set there that I felt an immediate connection.My Antonia begins somewhat slow – and after reading a particularly difficult book, I’ll admit, my heart sunk a bit. But once the story got going, once I started being sucked into the narrative of this young boy, I started to fall in love with the writing, the story, and the characters.Immigration, and treatment of immigrants, always provides an interesting topic to read, and write about, and that shows in this book. As an adult, I appreciated much more the hardships and tragedies experienced, then I would have as a teenager, which results in putting Willa Cather on the list of authors I want to experience more of.more
My Antonia is a wonderfully evocative novel of the early settlement of the Great Plains seen through the life of a well rounded, "living" character. A novel that will sweep the reader away while it lasts.more
I read this as a special educator coteaching in the American Heritage classroom. The teachers used this work to develop deeper understandings about challenges facing the early settlers of western expansion. To this end, I think the choice of novel was successful, but My Antonia is so much more. Cather's beautiful depiction of the the landscape and the trials and tribulations of life on the frontier in addition to her round characters facing issues that touch our world even today make this a literary classic. I personally loved the strong female characters Cather describes for the reader and despite their character flaws, one loves them nonetheless because we feel their "humanness." My Antonia provides the reader with lessons learned about tolerance, hard work, gender roles, and the hidden rules of society. A great classic to add to any library!more
I read this as a special educator coteaching in the American Heritage classroom. The teachers used this work to develop deeper understandings about challenges facing the early settlers of western expansion. To this end, I think the choice of novel was successful, but My Antonia is so much more. Cather's beautiful depiction of the the landscape and the trials and tribulations of life on the frontier in addition to her round characters facing issues that touch our world even today make this a literary classic. I personally loved the strong female characters Cather describes for the reader and despite their character flaws, one loves them nonetheless because we feel their "humanness." My Antonia provides the reader with lessons learned about tolerance, hard work, gender roles, and the hidden rules of society. A great classic to add to any library!more
In my opinion My Antonia was so boring. If I wanted to go and read about the prairy then I would go and get a book about the prarie. This book was so boring I felt like it was a waist of my time.more
During "My Antonia" by Willa Cather, I never really understood the point of the book. Yes, it shows grief and happiness, but the only part I understood is how it took Jim so long to get over Antonia because he really loved her, and how he was always there for her when she needed him, like a good friend. In the end, I guess the I saw how Jim wanted to be like a brother for her, if nothing else, because he realized he couldn't change her decision.more
Worst book I've read in like forever. It was so dull nothing really happened in this book. I would have much rather read The little house on the prairie, this book is not to much different but things are going on through out the book.more
My Antonia was very boring and I would rate it a 3 out of 5. I liked learning about the prarie life but its only interesting to a certain point. I could relate this book to Laura Ingalls Wilder books but those are better and more interesting. Antonia seemed really funny and I could just picture a little girl with bright eyes ready to take on the world. I liked reading about Jim being sweet to all the girls, like Lena she was very sassy.more
Part 9: My Ántonia review-Mariah S My Ántonia review: The book My Ántonia by Willa Cather is a classic novel about a boy, Jim Burden who meets a young Bohemian girl Ántonia. From the very start Jim seemed to like Ántonia and even had a crush on her. They always had a very special friendship; having been around eachother so much and Jim teaching Ántonia how to read and write in english. They grow up together in the town of Black Hawk, Nebraska. Not much happens there but they sure kept busy. The Shimerda’s (Ántonia’s family) are Bohemian and all are trying to become familiar with the American ways. Mr. Simerda misses his home country dearly and everyone knew it and could see it. This book showed the happiness, saddness, and comfort of the characters towards one another. As the years went by much happened that caused Ántonia, her family, and everyone in Black Hawk grief. Jim and Ántonia somewhat started going their seperate ways and Ántonia started to forget who she was and where she came from, when she was around different people including Jim. They became adults and Jim eventually leaves Black Hawk and his past behind to go onward to discover his future in New York. He meets once again with former friends and returns to his home town to see what he’s missed. This book shows Jim Burden never giving up his hopes until the end and fighting for what he wants and deserves. He grows much in depth inside and out with all that he has experienced. I give this book a 3 out of 5 star rating. It’s a good historical fiction book that talks about the harships that people once had to face to have a life in America. Also, how not everyone (in my opinion) could or can have what they want even if they do deserve to have it.more
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