My Antonia by Willa Cather

One day, this summer, I decided I needed to read more books considered classics. Since my house is full of large bookshelves, I soon found a book by an author named Willa Cather, called My Antonia. It caught my eye, and I spent the rest of the day reading it.

Cather possesses a bit of the old-fashioned writing style, but in a way that is simple and understand. I think she was a genius writing this book. She made the everyday life of a girl in Nebraska seem so much more interesting than most writers could. Every page I was holding my breath, waiting for the next page to come, not because it is an action packed book, but because it has so much feeling in that gorgeous style.

My Antonia is about a girl named Antonia, but narrated from the point of view of a different person. Antonia starts out a sweet, gentle girl who is new to the country and trying to help out with her parents and family as much as she can. After the death of her father, she becomes more rough and boyish. She starts working in the fields as her older brother’s hired hand. She slowly loses her manners to time, loss, and hard work. As this change overcomes her, you feel the gut-wrenching sense of loss. She was such a kind, lovely young girl.

One day, Antonia is offered a job in town, and she accepts. The grandparents of the narrator set up the job for her next door to themselves. She works as a maid for a polite, respectful family with five children, and she becomes a wonderful young woman. The change, however, does not last long. A traveling group that hosts a dance strikes a passion in her, and every night after that she sneaks out to go dancing at club-like places that have sprung up around town. Eventually, she is kicked out of the household and has to find work elsewhere.

Soon after the incident, the narrator looses track of Antonia and goes to college. He doesn’t see her again for many years, until he works up the courage to visit.

His life finally takes himself across her path again, and this time, she is a wife and the mother of many children. She is much more responsible, but she is still fun and happy. The way she grows up is beautiful, and you feel like she is a real person.

Naturally, I skipped over the narrator’s life. I don’t want to give too much of this excellent piece of literature away. I will say this though; My Antonia is one of the easiest books I have connected to. I felt close to the characters and I winced as bad things happened, while I nearly cheered when everything turned out all right. This is definitely a book worth reading, and it is suitable for anyone.





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