Western Expansion In My Antonia

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“During the nineteenth century, the American landscape, always subject to ecological processes and human agency, was transformed at an accelerated pace by unbridled economic development and mass settlement,” (Finkelman). As explained in the previous quote, westward expansion was increasingly becoming more popular, and more emigrants and immigrants settled west. Some of the states that were often settled in were California, Oregon, and Nebraska. Many great authors of the time would write of experiences or dreams of the west such as Willa Cather and Mark Twain. The difference among these writers was established around the lifestyle and childhood. While Mark Twain visited the west, he had never lived, or spent and extended period there. However,…show more content…
“Eager to spread "American ideals," expansionists looked westward, northward, and southward to expand the territory of the Union beyond the original 13 states,” (Carson). While there were many people moving westward in order to expand their ideals, there were many that were conflicting. This, often times, would leave certain people isolated from others due to a radical attitude of a certain subject. Also, there was so much land that was offered to the newcomers, due to manifest destiny, that they had the tendency to spread out. This is often shown within the novel. On page 23 of the novel, the first example of the isolation of families is expressed, “During those first months the Shimerdas never went to town,” Jim explains. The is often to be the case of families that were living in poverty and traveling to town, or other neighbors, was more trouble than it would have been worth. It is often noted that the land in which one was born on was often the land in which they were to die on. Also, that their land is what defined many people, and was a very important aspect of life that one could not easily risk. Through the novel My Antonia one is able to gather through the context of the story that many people of the west lived in a very isolated…show more content…
One could conclude that while there is still racism, the acceptance of others through the various immigrants has had a profound effect on many of those in the west. “…the West refers to the frontier regions where Europeans, Euro-Americans, East Asians, African Americans, and native peoples have interacted and conflicted with the environment and each other,” (Spence). All of the immigrants and African Americans were joined together in the west along with the white settlers. One may believe that this is one of the first steps in the reconstruction era after the gory Civil War. The idea of the acceptance of other races is often portrayed throughout this novel. One example of this is Jim’s family and their help to the Russians and Bohemian neighbors, and the neighbors return the kindness. Another example of the acceptance of African Americans is on page 116, “There was only one break in the dreary monotony of that month: when Blind d’Arnault, the Negro pianist, came to town. He gave a concert at the Opera House on Monday night, and he and his manager spent Saturday and Sunday at our comfortable hotel.” The excited attitude of the town and good treatment of the African Americans who came to town during the awful time of racism shows that in the west there was greater acceptance of other races, mainly African

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