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Role of Women

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Pamela McCarty Literature of the Americas IB Literature Assignment I Word Count: 1,042 Role of Women in My Antonia In Willa Cather's novel, My Antonia, there is a distinct difference in the roles of women. One sees the female characters taking on not so feminine roles by working in the fields or playing in the dust and dirt with boys. We also get to see a great independence for women as they get jobs and raise families. Willa Cather could very well have been a blossoming feminist in her time since she crumbled the stereotypes of women and boldly placed them in positions of power. She made not only the main female character of this book, Antonia, but all of the women reject society rules and have the confidence to make their own decisions about what to do with their lives. Willa Cather's novel really escapes from the societal norm of women at the time and replaces it with female characters unbound by stereotypes. ...read more.


"Miss Cather, I think, in this book has taken herself out of the rank of provincial writers and given us something we can fairly class with modern literary feminism" (Bloom, 5). Country women in the novel were not confined to staying inside and caring for the children while making dinner. Antonia is the perfect example of this because, early on, we see that she is a lively young girl whose youth is not yet affected by the social norms of that time. "Antonia had opinions about everything, and she was soon able to make them known" (Cather, 22). When her father died she had to take up labor in the fields to help her family survive. She didn't complain about it like Ambrosch did, it seemed very much like Ambrosch did very little work and just spent his time bossing her around. "Ambrousch hired his sister out like a man, and she went from farm to farm, binding sheaves or working with the threshers." ...read more.


(Cather, 118). So, where were the boys while the females labored tirelessly? They were almost never out in the fields working, they were just in school. Other farmers greatly approved of women working to support their family and saw nothing unusual with women doing a "man's job". "The farmers liked her and were kind to her, said they would rather have her for a hand than Ambrousch" (Cather, 95). Women could do more than just stay inside and cook, they could do hard labor and have jobs just like any man could. Willa Cather portrayed all of her women characters as strong roles models ready to combat whatever came their way. They could run business, work on the farm and raise a family all by themselves. These women were not affected by society's beliefs, stereotypes bounced off them as they went on their way, being just as capable as men. They were independent and could lead their own lives. "Cather's novel helps pave the way for women equality everywhere." (Bloom, 2). Bloom, Harold. �ntonia. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1991. Antonia. Questia Media America. 31 Feb. 2009 <http://www.questia.com/read/102554813?title=Antonia>. ...read more.

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