The Novel My Antonia, is a story of a young Bohemain immigrant girl, Antonia
Shimerda, on the central plains in Black Hawk, Nebraska. The story in narrated by a young boy,
Antonia?s neighbor, Jim Burden. Jim, because of his parents death, finds himself in
Nebraska living with his father?s parents. This is where he meets Antonia. This novel, written
by Willa Cather, is a story of Jim?s experiences and memories relating to Antonia. Through
Antonia Shimerda, and other characters throughout the novel, My Antonia, including Lea
Lingard, Jim?s Grandparents and Mrs. Harling, Jim Burden learns important lessons that enrich
his life and shape him to become the man he is at the end of the novel, who is able embrace
Antonia?s country family.
Lena Lingard, a country girl about Jim?s age, becomes a very important symbol
throughout the book. When Lena first enters the scenes, in the Harlings? household, we see a
poised and graceful woman. During the duration of this visit, Antonia is not very cordial to
Lena. Although they are both ?hired girls?, Lena is an object of men?s affections while Antonia is
not, despite her beauty.
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