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The Worst Hard Time

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  • April 2012
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My Ántonia: The Nebraska Hillside
Throughout the book 1 of the novel, My Ántonia, multiple literary devices help the reader visualize the beauty of the Nebraska hillside
Consonance is used in the story to draw in the reader and evoke a feeling of beauty. The repetition makes the land seem grand and expanded. In daylight, it seems that “the western sky-line skirt(s) the great cornfield”. The repetition of the “s” sound makes the field seem outstretched and spacious. On the field, there are trees with “many branches which bore dozens of blossoms”. Alliteration, a form of consonance, makes this line more interesting and intriguing to the reader. “A sort of shack” sits not far of Jim’s land, also on his land are “scattered sunflower seeds”. Willa Cather uses sibilant sounds to convey beauty and soften the tone in the reader’s mind.

The personification used in My Ántonia helps the reader envision the countryside’s vast area and supreme beauty. The grass is always in movement, “the whole country seem(s), somehow, to be running” and swaying in the wind. The field stretches “as far as the eye (can) reach” and behind the barn is the only “broken land” Jim can find. There is not a fence in sight, it is an open meadow, free for everyone to roam. The only element breaking up the large turf is a road that “ran about like a wild thing”. It winds through the cornfield, with sunflowers on either side. The personification in this novel helps bring Earth’s features to life and adds another dimension to the book.

The imagery is outstanding throughout the book. Willa Cather elucidates the hills of Nebraska with vivid detail. Jim depicts the cornfield as if “the grass was a country, as the water is the sea”; this analogy shows that the grassland is an extensive size. The fields that cover a vast area are made of “rough, shaggy, red grass” and on the farmland are “golden treetops”. Cottonwoods seemed to be “gold and silver trees in fairytales” with their “yellow leaves and...

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