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My Antoniaby Willa Cather
Synopses & Reviews
We went all the way in day-coaches, becoming more sticky and grimy with each stage of the journey. Jake bought everything the newsboys offered him: candy, oranges, brass collar buttons, a watch-charm, and for me a "Life of Jesse James," which I remember as one of the most satisfactory books I have ever read. Beyond Chicago we were under the protection of a friendly passenger conductor, who knew all about the country to which we were going and gave us a great deal of advice in exchange for our confidence. He seemed to us an experienced and worldly man who had been almost everywhere; in his conversation he threw out lightly the names of distant states and cities. He wore the rings and pins and badges of different fraternal orders to which he belonged. Even his cuff-buttons were engraved with hieroglyphics, and he was more inscribed than an Egyptian obelisk.
Once when he sat down to chat, he told us that in the immigrant car ahead there was a family from' across the water' whose destination was the same as ours.
'They can't any of themspeak English, except one little girl, and all she can say is "We go Black Hawk, Nebraska." She's not much older than you, twelve or thirteen, maybe, and she's as bright as a new dollar. Don't you want to go ahead and see her, Jimmy? She's got the pretty brown eyes, too!'
This last remark made me bashful, and I shook my head and settled down to 'Jesse James.' Jake nodded at me approvingly and said you were likely to get diseases from foreigners.
Another lantern came along. A bantering voice called out: 'Hello, are you Mr. Burden's folks? If you are, it's me you're looking for. I'm Otto Fuchs. I'm Mr. Burden's hired man, and I'm to drive you out. Hello, Jimmy, ain't you scared to come so far west?'
Set on the Nebraska prairie of the 1880s, My Ántonia tells the story of Ántonia Shimerda, daughter of a Bohemian immigrant. Through the eyes of Jim Burden, her tutor and admirer, we follow Ántonia's struggles and triumphs in the face of life's relentless hardships.
About the Author
Willa Cather (1873-1947) was born in Virginia and raised on the Nebraska prairie. She worked as a newspaper writer, teacher, and managing editor of McClure's magazine. In addition to My Ántonia, her books include O Pioneers! (1913) and The Professor's House. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1923 for One of Ours.
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