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Free Study Guide-My Antonia by Willa Cather-Free Online Book Notes
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THEMES

Major Theme

The main theme of My Antonia is Jim Burdenís fascination with Antonia as she represents two things: first, she represents an alternative to his life as a middle-class boy. She breaks out of the boundaries of class and gender with seeming ease while he is constrained within them.

Second, Antonia represents a close tie to the land. Jim loves the land, but is able to give it up for the successes of the city, while Antonia is happiest when closest to it.


Minor Themes

The minor theme of the novel is the changes in the Midwest as it undergoes European-American colonization. Jim Burden approves of these changes and even makes his living from them.

MOOD

The dominant mood of My Antonia is nostalgic. Jim Burden, the character-narrator, is writing about his childhood on the prairie. He is of a romantic bent and tends to cast all his childhood experiences and all those who played a part in them with a romantic glow. The reader is informed in the introduction that Jim presently lives in New York and is unhappily married. Therefore, his nostalgia for his past perhaps contains within it the longing for having made different choices.

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