Antonia Shimerda in My Antonia

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My Antonia, written by Willa Cather, is a novel about the main character, Jim Burden’s, childhood in Nebraska and his relationship with his dear friend, Antonia Shimerda, who was a Bohemian immigrant. Their friendship was tested by the various events that occurred through their lives and the different paths their lives took them down. After so many years, Jim looked back on his childhood with Antonia and tried to remember everything they shared together. He had trouble remembering but recalled how Antonia was an independent, hard-working, and believable character that dealt with many issues as an immigrant. Antonia Shimerda shows how the experience of an immigrant was hard for her through the loss of her father and the betrayal of her fiancé. Through Antonia’s hardships, she dealt with much distress and depression, however she was able to get through them all and keep true to herself. First of all, Antonia showed the hardship of being an immigrant after her beloved father, Mr. Shimerda, committed suicide. The news of his death was a surprise to the Burdens family, the neighbors, and the grandfather states, “Old Mr. Shimerda is dead, and his family are in great distress” (p. 69). The diction of “great distress” emphasizes how dramatic Mr. Shimerda’s death was to his family. It caused unhappiness and sorrow in the Shimerda family because they were now without a husband and a father. Cather emphasizes how painful Mr. Shimerda’s death was to Antonia when the main character, Jim Burden, came to visit: “When she saw me she ran out of her dark corner and threw her arms around me…It seemed to me that I could feel her heart breaking as she clung to me” (p. 83). The image portrayed from how Antonia “ran out of her dark corner” to Jim represents how Antonia’s father’s death had caused her extreme grief. Antonia metaphorically escaped the deep depths of sadness this death had put her in by the comfort of seeing, her good friend, Jim. The diction of the “dark...
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