Now 2024 Previous Articles Road Essays Road Reviews Author Black Authors Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA+ Artwork WIP

Recent posts

Month in review

Book Reviews:

All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown by Sydney Taylor
Bleach Volume 10 by Tite Kubo
Blood Matters by Masha Gessen
Burnt Bread and Chutney by Carmit Delman
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Flemming
The Company of Cats by Michael J. Rosen
Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi
Daisy Says Coo by Jane Simmons
Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
Doggies by Sandra Boynton
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Fast Profits in Hard Times by Jordan E. Goodman
First Editions by James Stoddard
Five Little Ducks by Dan Yaccarino
Five Thrillers by Robert Reed
The Fountain of Neptune by Kate Wilhelm
The 400-Million-Year Itch by Steven Utley
Grace's Letter to Lincoln by Peter and Connie Roop
Gregory III by Marc Hempel
The Gulls of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Tres Seymour
The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier
How Do You Go the Bathroom in Space by William R. Pogue
Immortal Snake by Rachel Pollack
In an Instant by Lee and Bob Woodruff
It's Spring by Samantha Berger and Pamela Chanko
Jenny Archer to the Rescue by Ellen Conford
Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Lion's Own Story by Crockett Johnson
London Orbital by Iain Sinclair
My Ántonia by Willa Cather
The Nocturnal Adventure of Dr. O and Mr. D by Tim Sullivan
Oh Boy, Boston! by Patricia Reilly Giff
The Other Log of Phileas Fogg by Philip José Farmer
Rebecca's Locket by S. L. Gilbow
Render Unto Caesar by Kevin N. Haw
Reunion by Robert Reed
Snakes by Adrienne Mason
Tales of Oliver Pig by Jean Van Leeuwen and Arnold Lobel
Test-Drive Your Dream Job by Brian Kurth
There's No Such Place as Far Away by Richard Bach
A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley
The Unspeakable by Charles L. Calia
The Willowdale Handcar by Edward Gorey
Who Stole the Wizard of Oz? by Avi
Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien

Flu and Stuff
Have You Brushed Your Fish Today?

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

Beat the Backlist 2024

Ozathon: 12/2023-01/2025

Canadian Book Challenge: 2023-2024

Chicken Prints
Paintings and Postcards

Privacy policy

This blog does not collect personal data. It doesn't set cookies. Email addresses are used to respond to comments or "contact us" messages and then deleted.

My Ántonia: 04/15/08

My Antonia

I read Willa Cather's My Ántonia for the Decades Challenge. I wanted to read it after having enjoyed My Mortal Enemy last July. While I enjoyed pieces of My Ántonia, it didn't hold my attention like My Mortal Enemy.

My Antoniais broken into five uneven parts and grew out of some short stories Cather had previous written. The five parts are The Shimerdas (which comprises the largest chunk of the novel), The Hired Girls, Lena Lingard, The Pioneer Woman's Story, Cuzak's Story. It's in the Lena Lingard where the story loses its focus as the narrator, Jim Burden, goes away to college and his attention turns from Ántonia Shimerda to Lena Lingard who is a less interesting character than the Bohemian pioneer.

The settings and themes of My Ántonia are similar to those in On the Banks of Plum Creek (1937) by Laura Ingalls Wilder but they are aimed at an older audience. Cather describes through Jim Burden the way the landscape changes and the rise and fall of the different pioneering waves. Burden arrives in Black Hawk at a time when the sod dugout homes are giving way to A-frame wood houses and the homesteads are being eaten up by wealthier farms. By the novel's conclusion, Burden laments at the way the highways are beginning to criss-cross the landscape cutting through and burying so many of his childhood landmarks. I found that closing observation especially telling given the book's publication in 1918, decades before the two big pushes of interstate highway systems.

My Ántonia's two central themes are the roles that immigrants and women played in shaping the prairie. Burden observes throughout the novel the different cultural backgrounds of the families living near him and how these backgrounds influence the choices the families make in their day-to-day running of their farms and businesses. Then through Ántonia and to a lesser extent the other women in the book, Cather highlights the role women played in these early pioneering years and how often their contribution was belittled or underplayed.

Comments (1)

Lab puppy
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:

Comment #1: Saturday, April, 19, 2008 at 19:48:27


Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I've been wanting to read Cather for years."

Twitter Tumblr Mastadon Flickr Facebook Facebook Contact me

1997-2024 Sarah Sammis