After the death of his parents, Jim Burden is sent to live with his grandparents in Nebraska, where he meets his first and most prominent love, Antonia Shimera. As pioneers in Nebraska, the Shimera family expected hardships, but none as devastating as a death in the family. Narrated by Jim Burden, an orphan living with his grandparents next door to the Shimera’s, My Antonia follows the coming of age and life of Jim and Antonia, the eldest daughter in the Shimera family. Starting when Jim and Antonia were young kids, the Burdens and the Shimera’s live as neighbors in the plains of 19th century Nebraska. While the weather was often harsh and the untamed land made it difficult to yield crops, the Shimera family worked hard to maintain a content life. However, when a tragic death strikes the Shimera family, they fall into poverty despite the aid Jim’s grandparents try to offer. As her family’s farm fails, Antonia has to quit school to help out with manual labor. Antonia gets a job as a town girl, helping care for children and households in order to support her family. Meanwhile, Jim moves into town as well for higher education, and is able to reconnect with Antonia, though she does not have as much leisure time as he does. As they both grow into adulthood, Jim witnesses the Shimera’s and Antonia to make difficult choices and somber sacrifices, contrasting their hardships to his own comfortable life.
My Antonia earned commercial and critical acclaim soon after its publication, and has inspired film and stage adaptations since. With themes of feminism, insight on lower class Americans, and the use of deep metaphors, Willa Cather’s My Antonia is a classic gem worthy of even more recognition.
Now redesigned with an eye-catching cover and printed in an easy-to-read font, this edition of Willa Cather’s My Antonia restores the classic novel to create an engaging experience for modern audiences.
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