Passages from Favorite Books – Audio #1

My Ántonia by Willa Cather

I fell in love with this book as a young teen. Ántonia’s strength helped me get through very rough teenage years. I believed that I could make it through my life and in the end still retain my essence. As I look back now I see that I’ve been able to do just that. I am no longer a carefree, young woman, but like Ántonia, I know my true heart shines through and that is worth any struggle I’ve had to endure. I can only be who I am.

This great American novel tells the story of several immigrant families who move to rural Nebraska. Ántonia is the eldest daughter of the Shimerdas and is a bold and free-hearted young woman who becomes the center of narrator Jim Burden’s attention. The story has many elements but clearly documents the struggles of the hard-working immigrants that homesteaded the prairies, and does a particularly fine job covering the hardships that women faced in that difficult environment. My Ántonia also provides Willa Cather with a platform to make some comments on women’s rights while weaving a story where romantic interests are ultimately bandied about by the uncontrolled changes that occur in people’s lives. The final book of Willa Cather’s prairie trilogy, My Ántonia, is considered her greatest accomplishment. My Antonia was first published in 1918. (

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