Symbolism - "My Antonia"

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Literary device – Symbolism
Symbolism is the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities: symbolic meaning attributed to natural objects or facts.

“There seemed to be nothing to see; no fences, no creeks or trees, no hills or fields. If there was a road, I could not make it out in the faint starlight. There was nothing but land: not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made” (10). “In all that country it was the spot most dear to me” because when all of the land has been cleared for farming, this “island” where two roads meet is the only place where the tall prairie grass still grows undisturbed” (62). “Even while we whispered about it, our vision disappeared; the ball dropped and dropped until the red tip went beneath the earth. The fields below us were dark, the sky was growing pale, and that forgotten plough had sunk back to its own littleness somewhere on the prairie” (50-51). Willa Cather My Antonia

In the book, My Antonia, Jim Burden finds himself an orphan leaving his beloved home to a new, stranger place. When he first arrives he observes the country and how different the surroundings are. Throughout the story Jim finally settles in and has a new friend, Antonia. Many things happen and soon we are mourning over the death of Mr. Shimerda. His death was a big event and effected Antonia and her family. Her family was forced to work three times harder to keep themselves alive. As you transition into book two, more conflicts are invited and new symbols.

There are three main types of symbolism that are appealing to the eye. The first quote uses the prairie as a symbol of Jim’s friendship with Antonia during his childhood. It may also symbolize the immigrants and the vast size of the prairie. Which may suggest both the opportunity for a new life and the overwhelming fear that goes with trying to create a new life. The third quote is usually missed as a sign of symbolism. The gravesite is a remnant of the prairie in its...
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