My Antonia Book Report Essay

This essay has a total of 839 words and 4 pages.

My Antonia Book Report




William Cather showed a great amount of information about the "old wild west" and the
expansion of the United States. In My Antonia, Jim Burden told a story of his childhood,
the people in his life, and the struggles he and his surroundings faced during this time.
At age ten, Jim Burden was sent by his relatives to be raised by his grandparents in the
Nebraska prairie after his parents died. When he arrived at his new home, he was
introduced to a Bohemian family that just immigrated to America; the Shimerdas. Jim and
Antonia, the Shimerda's daughter, quickly become friends. They traveled a great distance
to meet each other. As immigrants, the Shimerdas were not very wealthy and getting on
their feet was difficult. They were cheated into buying their home for more than it should
have cost. The family got by on what they had, but ended up needing help from outside
families. Mrs. Shimerda ended up getting many useful tools for their home from Mrs.
Burden. The first major hardship the Shimerdas faced was the death of Mr. Shimerda. He
shot himself in the mouth and committed suicide. This hurt the family tremendously.
Antonia was given the responsibilities that her father had and growing up for her changed
in a matter of seconds. She could not join her fellow classmates in school because she had
to tend to the work around the house. She became the head of the house. After time, the
Shimerdas had a new log home built for them by the neighbors. The family continued to get
their necessary items from outside sources and started to build a new life. Later, the
Burdens moved to a town called Black Hawk. They now lived further away from the
Shimerdas. Mrs. Burden gets Antonia a temporary job helping their neighbors around the
house. Antonia learned English much faster and Jim met many new people. This is where we
meet Lena. Lena was a Norwegian girl who later becomes a dressmaker, but distracted men
with her flirtatious act and planned never to marry. As Jim met new people and attended
the dances put together in the city, he noticed the segregation and the generalizations
made about specific people. He didn't like it one bit. The hired girls were the girls that
worked for their large families after they immigrated to America from foreign countries.
The boys didn't have the courage to marry these girls. These girls were taken advantage of
as well by their employers and the men in the town. Women were not treated as equals. With
age, Jim and Antonia became closer and Jim begins to like Antonia more. But the feelings
were not mutual. Then, Jim and Antonia started to go their separate ways. Jim started
working extremely hard in his studies at school and ended up going to Harvard to finish
his pre-law studies. Much time has passed, and when Jim returned to Black Hawk, he
learned that Antonia had become pregnant and returned home from Denver where the father
lives. When she returned to the father, she cared for him when he was ill and then he
deserted her leaving her broke and with nothing. Many things have changed through time as
they have matured into adults. Jim wanted to see Antonia and tried really hard to find her
and find out what has happened since he saw her last. When they finally reunited, they
recognized a bond they had that nothing could break. They had their childhood that always
brought them together. They went off on their separate ways, but in the end found each
other and they never lost sight of what they had been through together. They will always
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