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Re: Beauty and Danger in Nature



IlanaSimons wrote:
I think Cather often presents Nature as being a duality between beauty and danger.




I think they lived more on the edge at that time both when it comes to weather and animals. Was it Toynbee who said that it is easy for a man to protect himself against nature than against effects of his own civilization (something to that effect)?

There were both the animals (rattlesnakes, wolfs) and the weather.
But man can perceive his own littleness as a threat, and get scared in a 'spiritual/existential sense'. Nature can help to restore his faith and there's beauty in that, too.

I like this part at the beginning:

There was nothing but land:
not a country at all, but the material out of which countries
are made. No, there was nothing but land--slightly undulating,
I knew, because often our wheels ground against the brake as we
went down into a hollow and lurched up again on the other side.
I had the feeling that the world was left behind, that we had
got over the edge of it, and were outside man's jurisdiction.
I had never before looked up at the sky when there was not a
familiar mountain ridge against it. But this was the complete
dome of heaven, all there was of it.



ziki
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Re: Beauty in WiC's writing



IlanaSimons wrote: And Cather thinks Nature has a real balance of dark and light. Winter reminds you, she says, that "naturalness" is also spiked with its dark side:

Winter is harsh. "The pale, cold light of the winter sunset did not beautify--it was like the light of truth itself.




This is what I like about WiC's writing in Antonia, she has a very strong 'religious' element that is very sound. Perhaps it would be better to call it spirituality which is bigger than itself and yet very grounded and healthy, natural, no Christ suffering on the cross, but life present. She manages to hold both sides and write from a balanced position. It's both pastorale and detail.

It's also like she presents you with an organic apple that can't even be called organic because there is not yet its chemically treated and radiated adversary of which is left just an appearance, no taste. WiC is a lot about taste, solidity. Not sure how she managed to bake it so well, what recipe she had, not the Shimerda's grey sour bread :smileyvery-happy:

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Re: Beauty in WiC's writing



ziki wrote:

This is what I like about WiC's writing in Antonia, she has a very strong 'religious' element that is very sound.



I very much agree. Especially in that cycle of chapters in Book One, ch 12-14, in which we get Christmas (in which Mr. Shimerda feels more "comfort and security" than he’s felt in a long time, carrying a seemingly symbolic lantern and making the sign of the cross over Jim), then Jim's birthday, then Mr. Shimerda's suicide. Shimerda and Jim glimpse something spiritual in these chapters. Cather gives us a triptych: three scenes taking us through peace and sadness, birth and death.
Does anyone who knows much about Cather's religious life want to post about it here?



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Re: Antonia's Values

[ Edited ]

kiakar wrote:This is it in a nutshell, Antonia's Values are simply to be happy and fulfilled. Not famous or wealthy and she was being what she was. A housewife, mother and wife doing the things she loved best. Antonia was not a failure by no means. She fulfilled the desires of her heart. this is not measured by the materilistic value you end up with but how much love in your heart for others and yourself at the end of your life.




So well summed up...and this is also why Antonia remains an anchor for Jim (given also how he married and the style of life he chose)....yet he seeks her up...he is not content with the city....these wide plains remain his base, "the goddess" if I really stretch it, as an antidote to his male-law-logos-order-town values.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 05-16-200706:02 AM

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Antonia's children

I really liked this passage about Antonia's children - "We were standing outside talking, when they all came running up the steps together, big and little, tow heads and gold heads and brown, and flashing little naked legs: a veritable explosion of life out of the dark cave into the sunlight. It made me dizzy for a moment." (p. 203) To see so much life, light, love, and happiness now and to remember how dark and desperate Antonia's life was when she was her children's ages is striking to me.

On a different note, when my kids come pouring out of the car or into a store or restaurant people definitely take notice. The sentence "It made me dizzy for a moment." made me chuckle. We are often watched and asked "Are they all yours?" Fortunately, they behave pretty well (most of the time!) and more often than not we have older couples come over to our table to compliment them. One couple even bought them all dessert and had it sent over to our table! That said however, the initial reaction when we walk in is often looks of panic!
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Laurel
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Re: Antonia's children

Thanks for the lovely word pictures, Kristy. And may your tribe increase--as I guess it will quite soon.



KristyR wrote:
I really liked this passage about Antonia's children - "We were standing outside talking, when they all came running up the steps together, big and little, tow heads and gold heads and brown, and flashing little naked legs: a veritable explosion of life out of the dark cave into the sunlight. It made me dizzy for a moment." (p. 203) To see so much life, light, love, and happiness now and to remember how dark and desperate Antonia's life was when she was her children's ages is striking to me.

On a different note, when my kids come pouring out of the car or into a store or restaurant people definitely take notice. The sentence "It made me dizzy for a moment." made me chuckle. We are often watched and asked "Are they all yours?" Fortunately, they behave pretty well (most of the time!) and more often than not we have older couples come over to our table to compliment them. One couple even bought them all dessert and had it sent over to our table! That said however, the initial reaction when we walk in is often looks of panic!


"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Re: Antonia's children

[ Edited ]
I also thought those scenes with her kids were great. I love how she forgets their ages, and admits that one's her favorite.
I remember my brother and I begging my mother when we were young to tell us who her favorite was. She did. It didn't make me happy.
I'd like to hear more about life with many kids.



KristyR wrote:
I really liked this passage about Antonia's children - "We were standing outside talking, when they all came running up the steps together, big and little, tow heads and gold heads and brown, and flashing little naked legs: a veritable explosion of life out of the dark cave into the sunlight. It made me dizzy for a moment." (p. 203) To see so much life, light, love, and happiness now and to remember how dark and desperate Antonia's life was when she was her children's ages is striking to me.

On a different note, when my kids come pouring out of the car or into a store or restaurant people definitely take notice. The sentence "It made me dizzy for a moment." made me chuckle. We are often watched and asked "Are they all yours?" Fortunately, they behave pretty well (most of the time!) and more often than not we have older couples come over to our table to compliment them. One couple even bought them all dessert and had it sent over to our table! That said however, the initial reaction when we walk in is often looks of panic!

Message Edited by IlanaSimons on 05-18-200710:14 AM




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Re: Antonia's children



IlanaSimons wrote:
I also thought those scenes with her kids were great. I love how forgets their ages, and admits that one's her favorite.
I remember my brother and I begging my mother when we were young to tell us who her favorite was. She did. It didn't make me happy.
I'd like to hear more about life with many kids.



KristyR wrote:
I really liked this passage about Antonia's children - "We were standing outside talking, when they all came running up the steps together, big and little, tow heads and gold heads and brown, and flashing little naked legs: a veritable explosion of life out of the dark cave into the sunlight. It made me dizzy for a moment." (p. 203) To see so much life, light, love, and happiness now and to remember how dark and desperate Antonia's life was when she was her children's ages is striking to me.

On a different note, when my kids come pouring out of the car or into a store or restaurant people definitely take notice. The sentence "It made me dizzy for a moment." made me chuckle. We are often watched and asked "Are they all yours?" Fortunately, they behave pretty well (most of the time!) and more often than not we have older couples come over to our table to compliment them. One couple even bought them all dessert and had it sent over to our table! That said however, the initial reaction when we walk in is often looks of panic!







How many kids do you have, KristyR,? I had four and people thought that was alot.
but I loved the part about Antonia's children also. It seems so vivid, an old country kitchen with the kids scamping about a rustic background talking a mile a minute.
And that shocked me when Antonia pointed out a favorite child especially in front of her other children. I always thought that was a no no. ha. I really did not have a favorite of my four. And if my mom had one, she never said but it probably was my brohter, one boy and three girls, I think I am right. ha.
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Re: Antonia's children


kiakar wrote:


IlanaSimons wrote:
I also thought those scenes with her kids were great. I love how forgets their ages, and admits that one's her favorite.
I remember my brother and I begging my mother when we were young to tell us who her favorite was. She did. It didn't make me happy.
I'd like to hear more about life with many kids.






How many kids do you have, KristyR,? I had four and people thought that was alot.
but I loved the part about Antonia's children also. It seems so vivid, an old country kitchen with the kids scamping about a rustic background talking a mile a minute.
And that shocked me when Antonia pointed out a favorite child especially in front of her other children. I always thought that was a no no. ha. I really did not have a favorite of my four. And if my mom had one, she never said but it probably was my brohter, one boy and three girls, I think I am right. ha.


I am due with my 5th in 3 weeks. We will have 1 boy and 4 girls. I do have several friends with 4 kids, but I think people look at you a little funny if you have more than 2 or 3 kids. My oldest 2 are in 4th and 1st grade and even they comment about how the other kids in their classes react when they find out how many siblings they have. I am constantly being asked if I'm done now or asked jokingly if I know how I keep getting pregnant, etc. I don't mind my friends and family giving me a hard time, but it does throw me a bit when strangers say things! I had a friend's mom look at me in shock and ask why on earth I would want a 3rd child when she heard I was pregnant. We have had a few people be genuinely happy for us, but I was surprised at how differently people react between the time you tell them you're having your 1st or 2nd and then your 5th.

Life with a bunch of kids is perfect for us. It is chaotic, noisy, and messy, and it is loving, happy, and never boring. The kids are always excited when they find out I'm pregnant, they don't find it threatning. They love having someone always around to play with, talk to, watch movies with, practice soccer with, etc. They get on each others nerves sometimes of course! And more often then not when my husband and I go to bed we have to hunt around for them because they all tend to camp out in one room with pillows and blankets everywhere. They're like a litter of puppies, even at night they don't like to be alone! A large family is not for everyone, but we wouldn't have it any other way!

I don't forget their ages like Antonia does, but if I have to fill out a form with the year they were born in, I have to figure it out on paper. Childhood milestones - first teeth, first haircut, roll over for the first time, etc. are a blur. I even have to look at the locations in which pictures were taken to figure out which baby is in the picture! My friends keep begging me to start scrapbooking with them - shudder- I can't even imagine!
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Re: Antonia's children

I was the second of seven children. We had three big kids and four little kids, and I was always teaching someone how to write his name and the letters and numbers. I remember that one of the boys learned so well that he wrote all over one of the walls of our house.

My father used to read to us all at night--Kipling, Milne, Shelley, Keats, Longfellow, whatever was at hand. It is little wonder that three of us became writers.

Things could get noisy, especially when the little kids were running around and around the house through the interconnecting rooms playing some politically incorrect game that I will not name. Even though my hair curled on its own I used to put it up in big wire curlers so I could sit under a bonnet hair dryer and read in peace.

I think one of the best things about a big family is when they all grow up and turn into human beings who know you so well that they can finish your sentences. It is amazing to me the variety of people who can come from the same big family.

My parents had to save and scrimp and say No again and again, but they survived and are still in good health. My mother is now 87 and my father is almost 91. I don't think they would part with a one of us.



KristyR wrote:I am due with my 5th in 3 weeks. We will have 1 boy and 4 girls. I do have several friends with 4 kids, but I think people look at you a little funny if you have more than 2 or 3 kids. My oldest 2 are in 4th and 1st grade and even they comment about how the other kids in their classes react when they find out how many siblings they have. I am constantly being asked if I'm done now or asked jokingly if I know how I keep getting pregnant, etc. I don't mind my friends and family giving me a hard time, but it does throw me a bit when strangers say things! I had a friend's mom look at me in shock and ask why on earth I would want a 3rd child when she heard I was pregnant. We have had a few people be genuinely happy for us, but I was surprised at how differently people react between the time you tell them you're having your 1st or 2nd and then your 5th.

Life with a bunch of kids is perfect for us. It is chaotic, noisy, and messy, and it is loving, happy, and never boring. The kids are always excited when they find out I'm pregnant, they don't find it threatning. They love having someone always around to play with, talk to, watch movies with, practice soccer with, etc. They get on each others nerves sometimes of course! And more often then not when my husband and I go to bed we have to hunt around for them because they all tend to camp out in one room with pillows and blankets everywhere. They're like a litter of puppies, even at night they don't like to be alone! A large family is not for everyone, but we wouldn't have it any other way!

I don't forget their ages like Antonia does, but if I have to fill out a form with the year they were born in, I have to figure it out on paper. Childhood milestones - first teeth, first haircut, roll over for the first time, etc. are a blur. I even have to look at the locations in which pictures were taken to figure out which baby is in the picture! My friends keep begging me to start scrapbooking with them - shudder- I can't even imagine!


"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Re: Antonia's children

beautifully said, Laurel



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Re: Antonia's children



KristyR wrote:

kiakar wrote:


IlanaSimons wrote:
I also thought those scenes with her kids were great. I love how forgets their ages, and admits that one's her favorite.
I remember my brother and I begging my mother when we were young to tell us who her favorite was. She did. It didn't make me happy.
I'd like to hear more about life with many kids.






How many kids do you have, KristyR,? I had four and people thought that was alot.
but I loved the part about Antonia's children also. It seems so vivid, an old country kitchen with the kids scamping about a rustic background talking a mile a minute.
And that shocked me when Antonia pointed out a favorite child especially in front of her other children. I always thought that was a no no. ha. I really did not have a favorite of my four. And if my mom had one, she never said but it probably was my brohter, one boy and three girls, I think I am right. ha.


I am due with my 5th in 3 weeks. We will have 1 boy and 4 girls. I do have several friends with 4 kids, but I think people look at you a little funny if you have more than 2 or 3 kids. My oldest 2 are in 4th and 1st grade and even they comment about how the other kids in their classes react when they find out how many siblings they have. I am constantly being asked if I'm done now or asked jokingly if I know how I keep getting pregnant, etc. I don't mind my friends and family giving me a hard time, but it does throw me a bit when strangers say things! I had a friend's mom look at me in shock and ask why on earth I would want a 3rd child when she heard I was pregnant. We have had a few people be genuinely happy for us, but I was surprised at how differently people react between the time you tell them you're having your 1st or 2nd and then your 5th.

Life with a bunch of kids is perfect for us. It is chaotic, noisy, and messy, and it is loving, happy, and never boring. The kids are always excited when they find out I'm pregnant, they don't find it threatning. They love having someone always around to play with, talk to, watch movies with, practice soccer with, etc. They get on each others nerves sometimes of course! And more often then not when my husband and I go to bed we have to hunt around for them because they all tend to camp out in one room with pillows and blankets everywhere. They're like a litter of puppies, even at night they don't like to be alone! A large family is not for everyone, but we wouldn't have it any other way!

I don't forget their ages like Antonia does, but if I have to fill out a form with the year they were born in, I have to figure it out on paper. Childhood milestones - first teeth, first haircut, roll over for the first time, etc. are a blur. I even have to look at the locations in which pictures were taken to figure out which baby is in the picture! My friends keep begging me to start scrapbooking with them - shudder- I can't even imagine!




KristyR., I think its great when you want a large family and can reasonabley take care of them. I know things happen that we don't forsee but I never regretted having four and we really did want one more because we had three girls and one boy so we wanted another boy. But didn't go thru with it. ha. But it would have been ok if we had of. I think the major problem we had was one bathroom with three teenage daughters and myself that worked. Everything else was handled great. I feel more worthy after sacrificing and raising them knowing that hard work does pay off. They all went to college and finished and gave me beautiful grandchildren. But Kristy, I can understand the looks you probably get, with Five children. I wouldn't let that concern you one bit. You are the happiest for having so many children to love and be loved.
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Re: Snakes and Sex discussion,/ gender bender

I think that's quite an excellent analysis of when Jim sleeps at the Cutter residence. I would also like to add a further interpretation of this particular scene - that it is a another symbol or depiction of how sexuality has been purged from the Jim-Antonia relationship: Jim is in Antonia's bed but she is not there beside him.

Other gender bender instances that I have found:

~ Frances was dark, like her father, and quite as tall. In winter she wore a sealskin coat and cap, and she and Mr. Harling used to walk home together in the evening, talking about grain-cars and cattle, like two men.
(Book II, Chap. II)

~ The girls out there usually got rough and mannish after they went to herding.
(Book II, Chap. IV)

~ ... we acted charades, or had a costume ball in the back parlor, with Sally always dressed like a boy.
(Book II, Chap. VI)

~ "After the winter begun she wore a man's long overcoat and boots, and a man's felt hat with a wide brim..."
(Book IV, Chap. III)

If anybody would care to discuss/explain, I would like to know the significance (if any) of the plough described at the end of Book II/Chap. XIV.








IlanaSimons wrote:
In the Early Chapters thread, I started to describe Gordon Tapper's introduction to the B&N Classics Edition, in which he interprets the snake in Book 1 Chapter 7 as a symbol. Tapper essentially says that when Jim kills the snake, he also purges sexuality from his relationship with Antonia. In the Bible, Tapper writes, a snake tempts Adam and Eve; here the snake is killed off. “In Cather's version,” Tapper writes, “Jim kills off the serpent before it has the chance to tempt Antonia, which perhaps means that our protagonists will be more fortunate than their ancient forebears - or is it less? - and not be expelled from their prairie garden, their innocent pastoral romance."

Tapper's saying that throughout the book, Jim and Antonia enjoy a sort of Eden before the Fall - a male-female bond free of actual sex. From that first scene, in which Jim and Antonia go out into the woods because, as Jim says, “I was a boy and she was a girl” and he’s shocked by the “abominable muscularity” of the snake, Jim escapes the traditional role of the male. He is manly when he kills the snake, but we should also remember that it’s his grandmother who taught him how to kill off a snake, with the stick she wore dangling from her own belt. Later in the book, Jim tells Antonia that their Eden had been love without the dictates of sex: “I’d have liked to have you for a sweetheart, or a wife, or my mother or my sister – anything that a woman can be to a man” (192). So they do enjoy a love that's deeper than the sexual roles of man and wife.

Tapper also ties the snake incident to the incident in which Jim stays in Cutters’ house in place of Antonia, when Cutter’s acting strange. In the scene when Cutter comes home to rape Antonia, he finds Jim in the bed instead. This is a gender-bender which emasculates Jim in a way. He has again found himself in the role of a woman, being taken advantage of in the bed. Jim’s ashamed and begs his grandmother to tell no one, because he is afraid of what “the old men down at the drugstore” would think. (Tapper, xxx).

So Tapper’s just asking us to look at how sex is slain in the book. I think it’s a neat theory. Any thoughts?

Message Edited by IlanaSimons on 05-06-200705:04 PM




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Re: Snakes and Sex discussion,/ gender bender

[ Edited ]
That's an excellent list of quotes on androgyny. Thanks for it.

And yes-—that plough rings with such symbolism. I’ve been wondering about it too.

For me, it feels like a flag: a blast of color with a silhouette in it. The flag connotes farmers’ pride — their work that defines a new country.

There are a couple other times in the book when a similar form appears. In book 1 ch 6, Antonia and Jim see Antonia’s father strike a similar form against the setting sun: “The edge of the sun sank nearer and nearer the prairie floor, when we saw a figure moving on the edge of the upland, a gun over his shoulder. He was walking slowly.” This is Mr. Shimerda’s silhouette against the sun, striking the same sort of shape. I think again he represents the manual work that forms a new country.

In Book 3 when Jim goes off to school, he misses his old “natural” life with Antonia. “I was [studying]” he says, when “my mind plunged away from me, and I suddenly found myself thinking of the…past. They stood out strengthened and simplified now, like the image of the plough against the sun.”
Jim’s trying to force himself to become a modern monied man, and “one March evening in my sophomore year I was sitting alone in my room after supper. …My window was open [and] on the edge of the prairie, where the sun had gone down, [I saw] with gold light throbbing…. It reminded me…to shut my window and light my wick in answer. I did so regretfully, and the dim objects in the room emerged from the shadows and took their place about me with the helpfulness which custom breeds.” So he shuts out that sun, that old flag, and replaces it with artificial light to read by. He’s switched from the land to the city, but it’s not satisfying.

Then in the end, he returns to Antonia: “As we walked homeward across the fields, the sun dropped and lay like a great golden globe in the low west. While it hung there, the moon rose in the east, as big as a cart-wheel… For five, perhaps ten minutes, the two luminaries confronted each other across the level land… I wished I could be a little boy again, and that my way could end there.”
It’s as if that sun, among other things, represents the natural America built by the land.




mef6395 wrote:
I think that's quite an excellent analysis of when Jim sleeps at the Cutter residence. I would also like to add a further interpretation of this particular scene - that it is a another symbol or depiction of how sexuality has been purged from the Jim-Antonia relationship: Jim is in Antonia's bed but she is not there beside him.

Other gender bender instances that I have found:

~ Frances was dark, like her father, and quite as tall. In winter she wore a sealskin coat and cap, and she and Mr. Harling used to walk home together in the evening, talking about grain-cars and cattle, like two men.
(Book II, Chap. II)

~ The girls out there usually got rough and mannish after they went to herding.
(Book II, Chap. IV)

~ ... we acted charades, or had a costume ball in the back parlor, with Sally always dressed like a boy.
(Book II, Chap. VI)

~ "After the winter begun she wore a man's long overcoat and boots, and a man's felt hat with a wide brim..."
(Book IV, Chap. III)

If anybody would care to discuss/explain, I would like to know the significance (if any) of the plough described at the end of Book II/Chap. XIV.







Message Edited by IlanaSimons on 05-22-200709:43 AM




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Re: Snakes and Sex discussion,/ gender bender

In the early part of this discussion I had written that I read My Antonia for
a Young People Literature class for library science majors and minors. So I reread the book.In 1970 I had no idea about Willa Cather's sexuality. Before I read the book this time I knew that perhaps Willa Cather was a lesbian. It altered my interpretation of the book because I knew more about Willa Cather. Though, it is still a beautiful love story with wonderful characters in Jim and Antonia. Though Jim is the one that loves Antonia more. I believe she loves Jim, but like a brother.
Willa Cather writes wonderful descriptions about Nebraska. She is also a wonderful
storyteller.
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Re: Antonia's Values

Indeed, Jim says in Bk V/ch I:

I was thinking, as I watched her, how little it mattered - about her teeth, for instance. I know so many women who have kept all the things that she had lost, but whose inner glow has faded. Whatever else was gone, Antonia had not lost the fire of life.

This is such a beautiful tribute to Antonia. On the other hand, Jim describes Tiny Soderball who made a fortune in Alaska as like some one in whom the faculty of becoming interested is worn out.




Message Edited by Laurel on 05-05-200702:36 PM






This is it in a nutshell, Antonia's Values are simply to be happy and fulfilled. Not famous or wealthy and she was being what she was. A housewife, mother and wife doing the things she loved best. Antonia was not a failure by no means. She fulfilled the desires of her heart. this is not measured by the materilistic value you end up with but how much love in your heart for others and yourself at the end of your life.

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Re: Later Chapters: Sex and Strength


IlanaSimons wrote:
Later Chapters:

4 More Questions for Conversation


3. Sex and Strength
Recently Willa Cather’s sexual orientation has become a matter of scholarly exploration. Do you believe that Cather’s sexual orientation has left traces in this novel? What is the nature of this influence, if it exists, and how does it affect your interpretation of the novel?






Perhaps Cather's sexual orientation is revealed in the enormous respect and admiration she showed for women in the novel. None of them are weak. All are strong and proud and can work independently of men.

Also, I found Cather has a frankness about sex and its consequences that is surprising for her time. The girls have pre-marital affairs and illegitimate children and then rejoin society without apparent shame or stigma. Could this be a part of a new American identity, the beginning of a more open sexuality? And more uniquely, Cather doesn't pass judgment. There is only some gossip by townsfolk. This quality in Cather impressed me. She does not preach or moralize. So ahead of her time, I think.
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mef6395
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Re: Later Chapters: 4 More Questions for Conversation Could be a SPOILER

It would have caused quite a scandal at that time if Cather had chosen a female narrator. Perhaps My Antonia might have been banned! I think this answers in part the question of whether the author's sexual orientation has left traces in her novel. I think it definitely has. Consider also the descriptions of androgyny among the characters (I enumerated some of them at an earlier post), and the tandem of Pavel & Peter and Tiny and Lena (living in San Francisco).






kiakar wrote:
When I first read this book a few years back I thought this way and I still do.
I think Cather is using Jim as a narrater but she is really speaking of herself and the love she had for someone like Antonia. She didn't join Jim and Antonia together because she loved this person from a distance. She admired everything about her but because of when the story takes place, it was unheard of to be a lesbian or even to declare love for the same sex.


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IlanaSimons
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Re: Later Chapters: 4 More Questions for Conversation Could be a SPOILER

I'm glad you're bringing up Peter and Pavel. I also described their seeming homosexuality in an earlier post. I think their story is one of the most interesting passages in this book. (...That insatiable hunger for juicy melons!)
If anyone wants to say more about those two, I'd love to hear it.



mef6395 wrote:
It would have caused quite a scandal at that time if Cather had chosen a female narrator. Perhaps My Antonia might have been banned! I think this answers in part the question of whether the author's sexual orientation has left traces in her novel. I think it definitely has. Consider also the descriptions of androgyny among the characters (I enumerated some of them at an earlier post), and the tandem of Pavel & Peter and Tiny and Lena (living in San Francisco).






kiakar wrote:
When I first read this book a few years back I thought this way and I still do.
I think Cather is using Jim as a narrater but she is really speaking of herself and the love she had for someone like Antonia. She didn't join Jim and Antonia together because she loved this person from a distance. She admired everything about her but because of when the story takes place, it was unheard of to be a lesbian or even to declare love for the same sex.








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mef6395
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Re: Later Chapters: 4 More Questions for Conversation

[ Edited ]
I can think of 2 reasons why Jim went off to university instead and didn't actively pursue his relationship with Antonia:

1) Cather wanted to faithfully describe the experience that she herself had when she was a young girl growing up in Nebraska - that she came to know a Bohemian girl there, she became intensely fascinated with her but nothing ever came out of it.

2) Jim loves the Nebraska prairie with all his heart but he is not a farmer. Throughout his narration, he never really manifested an interest - or a knack - in being one. He is more made for scholarly and worldly endeavors (the reason, in my opinion, why he indulged, over several chapters, in describing the books he read and the theater plays that he went to as a student). I don't think he would have found his calling if he had stayed on in Nebraska and tilled the land. And as for Antonia, she would not have been happy living in the city. She is a country woman through and through.







kiakar wrote:
The reason Jim didnt end up in a romance or marrying Antonia, I believe it just wasn't meant to be in the story that Cather wrote. It was like, something you really really desire but do not go near it for many reasons. It wouldn't work out, for obvious reasons. It could be the kind of life they both wanted was so foreign to the other. And in Cather's mind, maybe Antonia was to far to reach, not detainable in this life.

Message Edited by mef6395 on 05-25-200706:25 AM

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