My Antonia Frontier Values

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In My Antonia, there are various themes throughout the novel such as; having relationships with their past, relationship with their environment, having immigration experiences while being in the United States and lastly having traditional nature of frontier values. Some motives in the novel are, childhood, adulthood and religion. And lastly some symbols that will be a primary focus throughout the work is the Nebraska landscape and the plow. In Willa Cather's work she focuses on her "powerful literary work that details nineteenth-century pioneer life in Nebraska, with all its hardships and beauties, and explores traditional American pioneer values, such as hard work, self-reliance, and the refusal to submit to adversity"(EDSITEment). In My…show more content…
Also in My Antonia, it explores the gender roles which in this era they were strictly enforced. The common "categories" that male and female were placed in whereas followed, men were meant to be the providers of the household. Meaning that the men would be the ones working and bringing in the money to feed and also provide clothing to their family. And the women were used for marriage, having children and then caring for them, the house and the husband. Jim said "When boys and girls are growing up, life can't stand still, not even in the quietest of country towns"(Cather, Willa). Even if the children in this time period don't want to grow up and follow the footsteps of their mothers and fathers, it has been chosen for them in advance whether they may like it or not it’s part of the mold that the families have created. When Jim was still a child, he greatly believed in the gender roles that were set by the older and wiser adults. In his mind this was the normal in his eyes but, once he goes off to college in Lincoln, he finds out that women here are independent women and don't rely on a man. And Jim becomes a more liberal thinker on gender…show more content…
In My Antonia, Jim shows just how innocent his mind was when he was with Antonia "I had killed a big snake-I was now a big fellow"(Cather, Willa). Here Jim was trying to win Antonia over by showing her that he could kill an animal and not be afraid because of her being there with him. When you try talking to a child about their friends being from different social standings or that their best friends are from different races or religious background they don’t think about the differences they have or if they are different sexes. Both of these characters struggle with physical and sexual changes of becoming young adults. A symbol that can symbolize Antonia growing up would be her father passing away, as well as becoming pregnant forces her to become mature even quicker. She would have to know how to take care of the child that is inside her and would also have to learn to be a mother. Jim becomes an adult when he leaves Black Hawk so he can attend

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