Willa Cather "My Ántonia" 1918


Modern American Literature Mind Map on Willa Cather "My Ántonia" 1918, created by meg.weal on 05/01/2013.
Mind Map by meg.weal, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by meg.weal about 10 years ago

Resource summary

Willa Cather "My Ántonia" 1918
  1. Landscape
    1. nature
      1. symbolic significance of "The Plough"
        1. "black against the molten red. There it was, heroic in size...the ball dropped and dropped until the red tip went beneath the earth. The fields below
          1. us were dark, the sky was growing pale, and that forgotten plough had sunk back to its own littleness somewhere"
            1. alignment of setting sun & plough present the harmonious relationship between humans and nature in the rural
              1. plough becomes smaller - suggests that nature will always be dominant over human creation
              2. evocative/romantic description of landscape
                1. poetic language of Cather/Burden
          2. difference between rural & urban
          3. Time
            1. Presentation of the past
              1. Inescapable past
                1. links to Charlie in Babylon Revisited
                  1. loss & denial of memory & past
                  2. nostalgic tone & subject of narrative
                    1. novel is a representation of Burden's memories & the relationship that he has with them
                  3. Difference between Childhood & Adulthood
                    1. past is representative of childhood innocence
                      1. despite following Ántonia through tho adulthood - she is a depiction of childhood innocence & purity
                        1. forced to grow up because of her father's death
                        2. "Jim is still able to loose himself in those big Western dreams. Though he is over forty now...He never seems to me to grow older"
                          1. suggestion that adulthood coincides with the loss of dreams & the burden of commitment
                            1. this image of Jim is perhaps how Cather wants to see him - not how he truly is
                              1. charater relationships throughout whole novel are rose-tinted
                          2. haunting memory of past
                            1. depicted as the cause for Pavel's death
                              1. "Pavel died a few days after he unburdened his mind to Mr Shimerda"
                              2. incredibly violent & descriptive memory
                                1. "The occupants rolled out over the snow, and the fleetest of the wolves sprang upon them. The shrieks that followed made everybody sober."
                                  1. "Pavel knocked him over the side of the sledge and threw the girl after him. He said he never remembered exactly how he did it, or what happened
                                    1. afterward."
                              3. Jim Bürden
                                1. personal relation to narrative
                                  1. immediately presented in title "My Ántonia"
                                    1. significance of "introduction"
                                      1. warning to reader that Jim does not know everything - leads to stories within the story
                                        1. "He loves with a personal passion the great country through which his railway runs and branches. His faith in it and his knowledge of it have played
                                          1. an important part in its development."
                                        2. depicts key themes
                                          1. Nature
                                            1. The dust and heat, the burning wind, reminded us of many things...little towns like these, buried in wheat and corn, under stimulating extremes of
                                              1. climate"
                                                1. nature's dominant repression of humanity
                                              2. Regionality
                                                1. "We agreed that no one who had not grown up in a little prairie town could know anything about it. It was a kind of freemasonry
                                                2. Ántonia
                                                  1. "a Bohemian girl whom we had know long ago...this girl seemed to mean to us the country, the conditions, the whole adventure of our childhood"
                                                3. ending is already given to reader - means dramatic tension is not present
                                            2. Portrayal of Females
                                              1. Ántonia
                                                1. masculinisation
                                                  1. result of father's death
                                                    1. "She lent herself to immemorial human attitudes which we recogniseby instinct as universal and true...She was a battered woman now, not a lovely girl
                                                      1. ...All the strong things of her heart cam out in her body"
                                                  2. can be seen as the real protagonist as opposed to Burden
                                                    1. continually refuses to sacrifice her independence to better her life
                                                    2. Lena
                                                      1. presentation of young adulthood/sexual wonderings
                                                    3. Immigrant Experience
                                                      1. Shimerda's
                                                        1. Mr Shimerda's suicide
                                                          1. "I knew it was homesickness that had killed Mr Shimerda, and I wondered whether his released spirit would not eventually find its way back to him own
                                                            1. country."
                                                        2. Peter & Pavel's story
                                                          1. haunting memory of the past
                                                            1. act of interpretation/falseness of stories being passed on
                                                              1. can be said for the entirety of the narrative
                                                              2. domineering power & presence of nature - attack caused by wolves
                                                              3. difference between Jim & Ántonia
                                                                1. Jim has a hopeful pursuit & education - Ántonia has to work to support her family after father's death
                                                                2. falseness of the American Dream
                                                                  1. the image of a plentiful land of prosperity & hope
                                                                    1. Shimerda's are plunged straight in to poverty
                                                                      1. "He slept with the old man and the two boys in the dugout barn, along with the oxen. The kept him in their hole and fed him from the same room as the
                                                                        1. prairie dogs and the brown owls housed the rattlesnakes"
                                                                          1. dehumanised to the same standards as animals
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