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My Antonia

By SHughes330 Oct 16, 2013 753 Words
"My Antonia" Essay ​
My Antonia, a realistic fiction novel written by Willa Cather, tells the story of a boy named Jim, who meets a young lady named Antonia Shimerda whom, though she had many trials, goes through life happy, and eventually becomes a successful mother. Antonia dealt with numerous hardships, as she was becoming an adult. She experienced a trip from Bohemia to America, the death of somebody close to her, was almost rapped, and many more destitutions. But, even though Antonia was faced with multiple challenges, she continued being happy. The troubles that Antonia experienced are similar to that of an immigrant. Immigrants are forced to deal with a multitude of injustices and trials, relatable to Antonia. Antonia strongly relates to the major theme of immigration because she shares many of the same experiences of a stereotypical immigrant. Antonia's hardships are similar to that of a stereotypical immigrant. When immigrants come to America, they usually don't have much money or many possessions. When Antonia and her family first emigrated to the United States they barely had anything. They were so poor that Antonia had to basically sleep in a big hole in the wall. In the novel, it states, "...with a wide double bed built against the wall, properly made up with blue gingham sheets and pillows.”(Cather 39). As Jim said, she did not have a normal place to sleep as most of Americans do currently. This is just one of the hardships and troubles that Antonia was forced to face. Many immigrants who come to America have problems just like Antonia did. Immigrants, for the most part, use all their money to get in the United States. As a result, once they actually land in the United States, they are faced with poverty and having very little money to live on. Most immigrants come to the United States to look for a new beginning/life. Antonia's trials are related to the main unit of immigration because she came to America for the same reasons as most immigrants do, which is to start a new life. That was exactly the reason why Mrs. Shimerda pushed so hard for her family to come to America. The book states, "Antonia told me about how her mother aspired to go to the United States. She has a cousin who told her marvelous thing about America." (Cather, 13). This quote shows what expectations Mrs. Shimerda has for America. She thinks that America will give her a second life almost. Though, her expectations are not actually met, she does move to America. Most immigrants come to America for the same reason as Mrs. Shimerda. They leave their country to avoid the bad economy or famine, or whatever problem they are experiencing. They then, come to America, and try to start a new life for their future family. Immigrants seem to become extremely Americanized when they stay in the United States for a certain period of time. Eventually, Antonia and her family become more American, and adapt to the American tradition and culture. An example of this is when Antonia is still a child, and it's Christmas. The book talks about how Christmas was occurring and their experience with Christmas. It states, “Mr. Shimerda, wearing his rabbit-skin cap and collar, and new mittens his wife had knitted. He had come to thank us for the presents, and for all grandmother's kindness to his family.” (Cather 84). In this part of My Antonia, the Shimerda family had just had their Christmas celebration. Christmas is an American tradition, which a large number of people celebrate. This relates to immigrants because immigrants also become Americanized as they stay in the United States. Many immigrants, for example, celebrate New Years, Independent Day, Halloween, Christmas and many more holidays. My Antonia accurately demonstrates the challenges of an immigrant. Antonia goes through numerous challenges. She experienced unfair working arrangements, a fiancée leaving her before the wedding, and even the troubles of being a single mother. Throughout the novel, it became clear that a major theme in the story was immigration. It became obvious directly from the beginning, with Antonia first being in America. Through the experiences that Antonia has to overcome, it becomes obvious that the theme of immigration is strong. Immigrants experience numerous hardships like Antonia had too. Immigrants basically come to America for the same reason also. In addition, immigrants always seem to become Americanized in some way, shape, or form. This is how the theme of immigration relates to the novel My Antonia.

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