The Friendship of Antonia and Jim

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THE FRIENDSHIP OF ANTONIA AND JIM “Since I’ve been away, I think of you more often than of anyone else in this part of the world. I'd have like to have you for a sweetheart, or a wife, or my mother or my sister anything that a woman can be to man (Cather 240). In Willa Cather’s My Antonia, Jim Burden spoke those words to his lifelong love, Antonia Shimerda. Jim and Antonia were close friends, but were so far apart in other aspects; therefore, they never got a chance to be husband and wife. One reason Jim and Antonia never married was because they viewed the value of the land differently. Throughout the story, Antonia was a representation of a life very different from Jim’s and her strong bond with the land shows us Jim s fascination with Antonia. She was his counterpart. Antonia represented an alternative to Jim’s life. Unlike Jim, she was able to move away from all the stereotypes and boundaries of her class and gender. Antonia was a lot less inhibited than Jim and she listened to her heart more. In the end, Jim’s decisions were made according to social thumbs up or thumbs down. As much as he loved Nebraska and the farmland, Jim was able to give it up for the city whereas Antonia was the happiest there and was content with her life in Nebraska. Jim had a lot of harmony with the land and loved it very much, but he never had to work it like Antonia did. She had to go through the pains of it more than Jim did. When winter would come, Jim was protected by his grandmother’s house while Antonia had to wait it out in the cold. Jim was the type of person that whenever he saw the land, he thought of what use it could be, as in railroads and buildings. He looked at it as an instrument for progress. Antonia, on the other hand, thought of the land as a divine entity driven by its own force. She was a sister to the land while Jim was a master. Another reason Jim and Antonia never married was because Antonia was prematurely given adult responsibilities and expected to act...
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