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My Antonia

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My Antonia by Will Cather A nostalgic retelling of a long train journey across the plains of North America, 'My Antonia' by Willa Cather employs a first person narrative of Jimmy who was, at the time of the journey, only ten years old. The combination of the tiring train journey, his parents' death and the feeling of isolation leads him to a state of indifference and to a certain extent, misery and self-belittlement. Moving across the 'great midland plain of North America', Jimmy is, at the end of the extract, at a entirely different setting. The description of Black Hawk, at first, creates a sense of isolation and uncertainty to the protagonist. When he gets off the railroad train, he sees, quite literally, nothing in the wide open space but darkness. ...read more.


As a first person narration, the readers are able to acknowledge the characteristics of Jimmy more easily due to the fact that the thoughts and feelings of the main character are transferred more directly and personally. The influence of the setting on the Jimmy is significant. As mentioned, the setting creates fear, isolation and uncertainty which all add to the apprehensive mood. Because Jimmy can see only darkness, he feels as if he is also nothing. This is highlighted when he feels 'erased' and 'blotted out' between the 'earth and the sky'. This makes him depressed and hopeless about the future. The tiring and uncomfortable journey creates a sense of indifference within Jimmy. As time pasted in the railroad train, he became 'more sticky and grimy' and when he arrived at Black Hawk, he employs personification to the engine - 'The engine was panting heavily after its long run'. ...read more.


The immigrant family, however, are described very poorly. Therefore, the locals are emphasized over the immigrants. Although this may not seem important, this may reflect on the ideas of Jimmy. Jimmy may be prejudiced and only seek to examine people of higher power or knowledge. This idea is hinted when Jake states that 'you were likely to get diseases from foreigners'. Although this may have been only Jake's personal ideas, because Jake and Jimmy come from a same environment, their general thoughts may be similar. The extract may seem, at first glance, a simple recount of a difficult and boring train journey; however, through the description of the setting, feelings of isolation, uncertainty is created which leads to an apprehensive mood. Also, the juxtaposition of characters reflects on the protagonists' ideas as he emphasizes on over the other. ...read more.

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