Literary Analysis on "My Antonia"

Tessa Stephens


Literary Analysis

The novel My Antonia tells us that it takes time to find out what people are really like. It also helps us realize that it is scary to be new and it takes time to adjust. When Jimmy sees his grandmother give Antonia's mother her metal pot, he realizes that he didn't really know Antonia's family as well as he thought he did. When Antonia's father killed himself, Jimmy saw that something like a change in environment is dramatic enough to make some people want to die. When Jimmy's older brother Jake got in a fight with Ambroche, Antonia's older brother, he saw that sometimes you have to fight for what is yours.

The act of Jimmy's grandmother giving Antonia's mother the pot shows that his grandmother is a very selfless person. She only wants the best for this foreign and naive family. But Jimmy thinks that giving her the pot is stupid because Antonia's mother is greedy. He knows that these Bohemians don't have much, but he thinks that they are bitter becuase the Burdens have everything. Jimmy grows up in this way because he sees that his grandmother gives in, even though she shouldn't. He knows that this is what should be done, although he has mixed feelings about it.

The night that Antonia's father killed himself, Jimmy was in the mood for something dramatic. When he finally found out the whole story, he didn't know what to think. Why would such a dignified man want to end his life, especially in such a manner? I think that Jimmy saw Antonia's dad as the only solid member of the Bohemian family. That is why he was so surprised at the grisly news. The change of environment was enough to make this man want to die. Did he feel guilty about his family suddenly having such a rough life? Or was he just homesick? This shows that even such changes as the place where you live can have a profound impact on your life. When I changed schools, I felt exactly the same way. I didn't want to die, but it's so different to suddenly go to a new environment with such different people.

Jimmy's brother Jake gets into a fight with Ambroch over a piece of farm equipment. Jake tells Ambroch that he can't take such a shabby thing back to Mr. Burden, and Ambroch simply says, "All right." and leaves. He was quite agitated that it came back in such poor condition, and we see that through this fight Jimmy realizes that sometimes you'll have to fight for what you believe in. It was strange that they would bring it back in such a manner, especially considering that the family seemed to so much value all of the Burden's possessions. We learn that when people are put under stress they can become bitter about their situation, such as Ambroch.

All in all, My Antonia is a wonderful novel that describes how life can be unfair and hostile, especially when you don't know what you are doing. You may say or do things that you don't mean. You may not even want to live anymore. But after a while, things will get better and you will want to continue with the good life that you have.

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