Books and Movies Reviews

My Antonia Name Comparisons

Willa Cather's masterpiece, "My Antonia," is a story of nostalgic wistful relationships, mainly between Antonia Shimerda and Jim Burden. With Jim being the narrator, Willa writes through him with sympathy and an evocative, reminiscent tone. Much can be said about Jim Burden and the stress he holds without Antonia in his life. However, she was always in his heart. Willa carries out many personalities through Jim in'secretive' ways. As a reader, I interpreted Jim's last name (Burden) to fit into his personality, and analyzed this information to see if my hypothesis was correct.
Webster's Dictionary (and other resources) defines burden as "something that is emotionally difficult to bear. A source of great worry or stress. To weigh down or oppress." I felt this to fit right in with Jim's personality in the way that he was very disheartened and browbeaten by the fact that he went separate ways with Antonia. He let this oppression get to him, and let Antonia stand out as an abstract figure in his mind. Jim allows himself to descend apart from her rather than lingering close to her.
Jim always held that special place in his heart for her however. The burden he carried was very heavy and profound but he just could not let her abscond. He had the memories, as they built up to a greater and greater concrete foundation of longing, longing to someday see his childhood companion once again. Jim remains to grasp the good and bad times in his head. He explains the time he sneaks out of his home to the Firemen's Hall dance. He walks Antonia back to the Cutters and asks for a kiss. Soon his hope turns into shame as she rejects him. Yet he was content with her virtue and good value, and he walks home with Antonia in his mind and heart. Times go on and he finds the news of Antonia's fiancé running away from her. He feels deep grieve for her misfortune.

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