My Antonia By Willa Cather: How The Simple Things In Life Are Important

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

“My Antonia” book has the character of older Jim saying his side of the story back when he was younger. While he was telling his story, there was a few aspects of his life in Nebraska that he idealized. It starts when he describes the struggles back then and how they all helped each other. Throughout the book, I have noticed how he explained how the simple things in life were also the most important, which was family. Lastly, he explains how you cherish what you have because things don’t last forever. 

Times back then were harsh and that’s why throughout the book, people were there to support each other. The part in the book that stuck out the most is how Jim talks about helping Antonia’s family while they were struggling to live. The Shimerda’s family didn’t have the funds, shelter for the extreme weather, and the hands on skills to complete the experience in living in the place they moved to. From the start, Jimmy’s family showed being the nice neighbors by offering the Shamerda’s family food, finding the best deals on animals, and teaching Antonia how to speak English. The same help and support throughout the books was also found from the townspeople. They would find ways to help and direct them with education and other services available. There was also a time when Jimmy’s family encouraged Antonia to join Jimmy to go to school. 

Jim was an orphaned child and was sent over to his grandparents. While he was there, the family was brought together and was able to make a great family bond. The simplest thing which is meaning family was the most important because they are always there for you. Antonia’s family wanted to live a happy life. When the father died, Antonia took charge in some of the man work to help her family out. The family had to bond together closely at a time of need for each other. As simple as having your family can be the most important. 

At the end of the book, he talks about how he misses Antonia and how wonderful their friendship was. Their busy lives grew them apart. Jim, idealizes the aspect of life with you cherish what you have because it doesn’t last forever. As Jim was telling his story, his time with his favorite people while he was just ten years old. This is something that brought my attention in the book as to what he idealized. After Antonia’s father dies, that is when her and Jim slowly go in separate paths. Jim was still attending school while Antonia was forced to work for her family. 

“Why aren’t you always nice like this, Tony?” 

“How nice?” 

“Why, just like this; like yourself. Why do you all the time try to be like Ambrosch?” She put her arms under her head and lay back, looking up at the sky. “If I live here, like you, that is different. Things will be easy for you. But they will be hard for us.” 

In the end, I think that he looks back and regrets for not seeing Antonia again sooner. He let twenty years go by from Antonia’s promise in seeing her again. With his busy life made it difficult. He loved her so dearly. ‘I did not want to find her aged and broken; I really dreaded it. In the course of twenty crowded years one parts with many illusions. I did not wish to lose the early ones. Some memories are realities, and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again’. He remembered the good memories with her that stuck inside his soul. He knows that the past is gone, but finds beauty in all the good memories that he can remember. 

These aspects are meaningful to people today. As a community, we help and support each other in many different ways. It’s part of being a decent human being. It can be as simple as holding the door for someone, pat on the back, or by giving someone a smile. People appreciate the simple things in life. Family is something simple but do appreciate greatly. Some may find family that is not even blood related. Also, the aspect of cherish what you have because it may not last forever is meaningful to people today. It is a lesson that most people experience in their life. These aspects are meaningful to me. I do believe that all three of these ideals are so important while experiencing life. Life is hard and having the right people and while having these ideals in life can make most experiences much more fulfilling. 


  • Cather, Willa. My Antonia. Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1954. Print.


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