Antonia Shimerda spends her whole life fighting, yet she is not known to be belligerent. She is constantly being battered, but still has no visible scars. Antonia is a girl who suffers all through her life, and somehow manages to keep an optimistic outlook. She is one of those rare people who gain character, rather than resentment, by enduring hardship. Throughout the book, MY ANTONIA, the strength and perseverance of this girl definitely portray her as "battered but not diminished."
The symbol of freedom, courage and hardship, the country seems to invite all to come and settle, but not without a struggle. Antonia, along with her family, is among the many that takes on this formidable task. A girl with a great heart, she comes to Nebraska virtually helpless, She arrives in an unfamiliar country with the knowledge to speak only a few words in the native language, and her family with no knowledge at all. Living in a small hut made of dirt and wood, the Shimerda family is forced to make due with what it has; which is not much. This presents a tremendous strain on them. In contrast to Antonia's remarkable perseverance, misery plagues and inevitable overcomes her father. He eventually gives in to his despair, leaving his family to fend for themselves. There is a great sense of unease and apprehension that comes along with the suicide, that can be almost unbearable to a little girl. As any child, the loss of a parent is probably the most substantial event in his/her life and equally difficult to get over. Although Antonia never forgets her father, she uses her strength to move on.
No matter how she tries, Antonia cannot escape the prejudices that surround the town. Working as a hired girl, a job that demands the skill of a housekeeper and a nanny, Antonia becomes an outcast in the city. Consequently, she is forced to associate with only other working girls like herself. Yet it is not just her job that earns her the prejudice, it is the color of her...
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