( Individuality: Its Influence over Lena. Jim and Antonia During Their Childhood. Adolescence and Adulthood ) “The longest journey is the journey inwards. Of him who has chosen his fate. Who has started upon his pursuit for the beginning of his being”— Dag Hammarskjold. 1 This individualist journey. Hammarskjold refers to. consists of two really of import elements which contribute to individuality: ( 1 ) holding the consciousness of personal answerability before the Lord and Savior and ( 2 ) holding a self-sufficing nature as a well of a person’s individualism which was required to settle the American frontier. These cardinal ingredients assorted with an wild land tempered the colonists into what we know them today as Americans which may be observed within Willa Cather’s My Antonia as the reader follows the lives of three cardinal characters: Lena. Jimmy. and Antonia.
Cather herself searched for her ain individuality which she juxtaposed in this 1918 literary work with the character Jimmy. Both he and the writer of the narrative were born in Virginia and at an early age were sent to Nebraska to fall in their grandparents. And much like the writer. he had the pleasance of turning up with a assortment of immigrants and narratives. Such narrations inspired the writer throughout her composing calling. My Antonia follows the enterprises of the female supporter. Antonia. and her foil. Lena. as they struggle in a new state. linguistic communication. and civilization seeking felicity and fulfilment in their lives which Cather so frequently ascertained in her childhood immigrant neighbours. Likewise. the reader learns about Jimmy with his ain personal battles as he strives for liberty in a rugged district with rigorous moral codifications.
Willa Cather’s My Antonia addresses the impression of individuality which is best seen through direct and indirect word picture of three dynamic characters: Lena. Jimmy. and Antonia by agencies of analysing three phases of life: childhood. young person. and maturity. A singular illustration of individualistic growing is depicted in Lena Lingard who lived in the countryside with her freshly transplanted Norse household outside Black Hawk. Nebraska.
The reader first brushs Lena through direct word picture as she is described as being “bareheaded and barefooted. barely dressed in tatterdemalion clothing” ( 106 ) 2 when she was merely a kid looking after her family’s herd. In the first portion of the book she is introduced as a wild. ill dressed working miss in charge of farm undertakings much like other foreign misss: “Lena lived in the Norse colony West of Squaw Creek. and she used to crowd her father’s cowss in the unfastened state between his topographic point and the Shimerdas” ( 106 ) .
Further along in the novel. there is a clear alteration in this character’s life. She grows-up and changes her worn out shred for modiste quality vesture with hat and baseball mitts as she begins a new stage in her life as a dressmaker’s learner in the town of Black Hawk: “’So you have come to town. ’ said Mrs. Harling. her eyes still fixed on Lena. ?Where are you working? ’ ?For Mrs. Thomas. the modiste. She is traveling to learn me to run up. She says I have rather a knack’” ( 104 ) . As a immature grownup. Lena strikes-out on her ain to the metropolis of Lincoln in a supreme concluding exhibition of the independency she has forged for herself throughout her life through difficult work and finding. “‘I unrecorded in Lincoln now. excessively. Jim. I’m in concern for myself.
I have a dressmaking store in the Raleigh Block. out on O Street. I’ve made a existent good start’” ( 170-171 ) . The way Lena has walked since her childhood. through her adolescence. and so maturity has illustrated a noticeable accomplishment in going a self-sufficing immature adult female who quested for her fate in an wild land far from her native place. Lena’s personal answerability should besides be explored. being one of the cardinal elements of individuality. as she ne’er turned her back on her household but ever sent them money from her run uping work: “’After I learn to make run uping. I can do money and aid. . . [ my female parent ] ’” ( 104 ) .
These individualistic elements were cardinal in developing her character as she was noted in taking attention of herself every bit good as her parents and siblings which was required of those immigrants who founded America and became a new strain of people known as Americans. Individualism was besides reached by two other primary characters within this authoritative American literature novel: Jimmy and Antonia.
Jim Burden. the storyteller of the narrative and besides one of the major characters of Willa Cather?s My Antonia. is every bit good and of import illustration of how a human being can germinate trough his life to happen completeness and autonomy. At the beginning of the book. Jim had merely suffered the loss of his parents ; and sent to his grandparents. While he was in the train on his manner to Nebraska he was in deep grieve and unsure about his hereafter. “? I don’t think I was homesick. If we ne’er arrived anyplace. it did non affair.Between that Earth and that sky I felt erased. blotted out. I did non state my supplications that dark: here. I felt. what would be would be?” . Nevertheless. that sad transition in his life did non allow Jim down. In the same train that he was going at that place was a Bohemian household. One of the members of that household was Antonia Shimerda. who would go his best friend in the close hereafter. When Jim had adequate age to get down analyzing at School. coincidently his grandparents besides had to travel to Black Hawk due to Mrs. Burden wellness state of affairs. There he met new friends. worked hard on his surveies. and besides had merriment.
Despite being sad and scared in the yesteryear. Jim managed to get the better of these troubles and successfully better at school. So much so. that shortly he would travel to Lincoln to get down his college calling. There he met Gaston Cleric who joined him in his new escapade. and helped Jim to acquire over some obstructions that he had to confront while populating in Lincoln. “At the university I had the good luck to come instantly under the influence of a brilliant and animating immature bookman. Gaston Cleric had arrived in Lincoln merely a few hebdomads earlier than I. . . ” ( 165 ) . Cleric besides convinced him to travel to Boston to complete his calling. where Jim would eventually make his end of going a professional. “Two old ages after I left Lincoln I completed my academic class at Harvard. Before I entered the Law School I went place for the summer holiday. ”
( 191 ) Merely after acquiring his college grade. Jim travelled back to Black Hawk where he would happen everything different. his friends either dead or gone. the childs were non the same. and even the town itself was all changed. He left Black Hawk being an stripling with dreams and now he had returned as a professional. He felt he was complete. despite of the fact that he still had really present that sorrowful dark in which he was traveling from Virginia to Nebraska. “?I had merely to shut my eyes to hear the rumble of the waggons in the dark. and to be once more overcome by that killing unfamiliarity. The feelings of that dark were so near that I could make out and touch them with my manus. I had the sense of coming place to myself. and of holding found out what a small circle man’s experience is? .
( 238 ) ” By the clip he came back to Black Hawk he knew that he had seized the chances he had and felt that his life had been worthy life. While back in town. he went to see his darling friend Antonia. which besides was happy. The occurrences in Antonia’s life. and how she evolved from being a small miss in a foreign state to the adult females she became will be exhaustively developed following.
Antonia Shimerda is the chief character that we find in Willa Cather’s My Antonia. Equally good as Lena and Jim she is characterized during different phases of her life ( childhood. adolescence and maturity ) . One illustration of this word picture is portrayed in how Antonia was developing her new linguistic communication ( English ) and how it was influenced by the different periods of clip she went through. every bit good as the topographic points she moved to. At the beginning of the narrative we find Antonia and her household traveling from Bohemia to the prairie of Nebraska. In the prairie and as a kid she met Lena Lingard and Jim Burden who would go one of the most of import individuals in her life.
Jim was traveling to be the one in charge of learning English to Antonia who did non talk much English before the reaching to the prairie ; “?Antonia had sentiments about everything. and she was shortly able to do them known. Almost every twenty-four hours she came running across the prairie to hold her reading lesson with me. Mrs. Shimerda grumbled. but realized it was of import that one member of the household should larn English’” ( 24 ) . It is apparent that Mrs. Shimerda did non like the thought of Antonia larning English. But. she understood it was of import for Antonia to larn the linguistic communication in order to accommodate herself and to happen herself in her new state and place. besides this would assist Antonia to take attention of her household as she felt it as an duty.
As Antonia was germinating her English was turning with her and with this some traits of her personality excessively. As explained before in the paper. Jim had to travel to Black Hawk due to analyze grounds. but it was non traveling to be a long clip before Antonia besides moved to Black Hawk. but with different purposes from one’s of Jim. Antonia moved to Black Hawk to acquire a occupation. here she runs into Jim and Lena once more. Now in her adolescence Jim says that Antonia has really good English. “Tony learned English so rapidly that by the clip school began she could talk every bit good as any of us” ( 107 ) . This shows that Antonia kept practising English to better herself. as she felt that was one manner to go better to assist her household. and now in Black Hawk and with her occupation it was apparent how the betterment in her English helped her.
However. Antonia would began to go to to dances with her friend Lena and this would transport a batch of jobs with it for her. including losing her occupation because she did non desire to discontinue go toing to dances as requested by her foremans. The narrative carried on and farther in front in the narrative. when Jim comes back from Lincoln and the clip he spent at Harvard to complete his surveies. he finds a merrily married grown-up Antonia with kids. Antonia had married a Bohemian cat called Anton and now she has a household. and she is really happy with them. While Jim is speaking with Antonia. he notices that her English has become bad as it used to be when she was a kid and she was larning it. Antonia tells him that now she has many problems with English because at place they speak about merely in Bohemian. “?I can’t think of what I want to state. you’ve got me so stirred up. And so. I’ve forgot my English so. I don’t frequently talk it any more.
I tell the kids I used to talk existent good. She said they ever spoke Bohemian at place. The small 1s could non talk English at all—didn’t learn it until they went to school” ( 224 ) . Now in her maturity Antonia was truly disquieted and a good female parent every bit good as a good married woman who take attention of her household. Here is where the alteration that Antonia suffered from childhood to adolescence to adulthood is characterized. how she passed from a small miss to a loving female parent. Throughout this essay three cardinal characters that we find in the fresh My Antonia by the writer Willa Cather have been characterized. these characters are: Lena Lingard. Jim Burden and Antonia Shimerda. The word picture of these characters has been done under the perceptual experience of individuality that is represented with each one of them.
This perceptual experience of individuality of the characters has been shown based on the chase for liberty that each character went through. At the same clip three different minutes in characters lives’ were chosen to depict them ; the childhood. adolescence and maturity. These minutes in character’s lives’ were chosen because they are anterior of import phases in a person’s life. So. it was of import to exemplify how the impression of individuality of each character could be characterized in these phases. taking into history important facets that the characters faced in the hunt for themselves. Examples of these of import facets faced by the characters are a new state. linguistic communication and civilization in the instance of Lena and Antonia. Another illustration is the personal battles of Jim as he attempts for liberty in a rugged district with rigorous moral codifications.