Difficult Fate Of Antonia

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

My Antonia, by Willa Cather, is a historical nonfiction book that digs into the reality of life on the frontier and farming in developing America. It shows the transition from hard life coming into America a immigrants, to the immigrants finally experiencing the American dream. Taking place in Black Hawk, Virginia, My Antonia is a moving story that explains the hardships of immigrating and farming, the struggles of the availability and opportunity of an education, the objectifying of women, and how your upbringing did not always determine your future success.

Many children were put to work on farms and had to sacrifice education. One example is Antonia Shimerda. After Mr. Shimerda passed away, Ambrosch put Antonia to work almost immediately on the farm. He needed help since his brother was disabled, but Antonia did not complain. Antonia was her father’s favorite, and he always took good care of her and protected her. Antonia was too prideful to let anyone think down of her. When Jim asked her if she could go to school with him, she replied, “I ain’t got time to learn. I can work like a mans now. My mother can’t say no more how Ambrosch do all and nobody to help him. I can work as much as him. School is all right for little boys. I help make this land one good farm.” All she wanted to do was to make her father proud. Antonia did not let her lack of education keep her from making the leap into city life. She eventually transitioned from working on the field on a farm to cooking for a nice family in the city. Her new job afforded her privileges that she could not of had otherwise. Antonia even got her own bedroom. She made enough money where she could send money back home for her little sister Yulka for nice clothes and shoes. Cooking is not constant throughout the day, so she could hang out with school kids and other young girls who worked for people nearby, such as Lena Lingard and Tiny Soderball. Antonia was the best dancer in town. At night, she would hurry and finish her cooking and baking so that she could go dancing. Everyone in town wanted a chance to dance with Antonia Shimerda.

Antonia soon got overwhelmed by the amount of boys and young men that were infatuated with her. Married men started trying to make moves on young Antonia, as she walked home to where she worked. This soon caused massive tension between Mr. Harling and Antonia. He told her, “This is what I’ve been expecting Antonia. You’ve been going with girls who have a reputation of being free and easy, and now you’ve got the same reputation. I won’t have this and that fellow tramping behind my back yard all the time. This is the end of it, tonight. It stops, short. You can quit going to these dances, or you can hunt another place. Think it over.”Antonia was too stubborn and talented to give up dancing, so she went to work for the Cutters. The Cutters have a reputation of always fighting, but they never divorce. Mr. Cutter is extremely critical, and many kids throw rocks and bricks into his yard. After Antonia had worked for him a while, Mr. Cutter tried to pull a stunt. When him and his wife went away for a weekend, he told Antonia that he put valuable silverware and documents under her bed. She said to not let her friends in the house, and he also told her not to go out that weekend. Antonia was frightened by this strange behavior, so she decided to tell the Burdens about it. Jim’s grandparents decided it was probably best to send Jim there for the night. Jim got awakened to the sound of Mr. Cutters startling voice. He kept screaming and asking where Antonia was. Mr. Cutter started beating Jim, and Jim was lucky he only suffered a black eye, bloody nose, and bloody lips. Mr. Cutter had sent his wife on the wrong train, and he had planned an elaborate scheme that night. The way women were treated back then was horrendous. They were seen more as objects than as equals by men. Some menfigured if they gave a young girl a job, then she needed to return the favor in some way. One time, when Antonia and her friends were hanging out and dancing at the parlor, several men coaxed them out of the room they were in and said, “What’s the matter with you girls? Dancing out here by yourselves, when there’s a roomful of lonesome men on the other side of the partition! Introduce me to your friends, Tiny.” Young girls were shy and vulnerable, so they were often taken advantage of because of that.

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