Meredith's Challenge 2.0

52 books, one year. Stay tuned for more details.

Monday, May 15, 2006

2.17 My Antonia by Willa Cather

Oh, this novel is so beautiful. The prose is fantastic, it almost had me wishing that I, too, were in the middle of the country during the fin de sicle. Notice I said almost. It seemed realistic enough that I felt like I was there, in the bitterly cold winter and on Antonia's farm with her children. Oh my goodness, I loved reading this. When I was a child my favorite books were The Little House Series and Anne of Green Gables. How could I not love this book? And how come no one ever told me how very similar Cather and Wharton are? They are also both so utterly fantastic. Now I want to read everything the two of them wrote.

Being the die-hard feminist that I am, once I turned it on I can't turn it off (nor would I want to), I wondered why people continued to claim Antonia as "theirs." It made me uncomfortable. Why does she have to belong to somebody? If anything, I would guess that she "belongs" to her huge brood of children, and by huge, I mean obscenely enormous. Yikes, that woman was fertile.

I thought that the framed narrative in the beginning was a bit hokey, but then I read the original introduction written by Cather. So did she really write it? Or did her friend "Jim"? Why pretend that this other person wrote it? Was Antonia a really person in Cather's life? I'm sure that Google or Blingo could answer all these questions for me. But maybe some of you have the answers?


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