killing My Antonia

I have just finished Willa Cather’s My Antonia, a highly recommended book in my Masters’ Degree. It is not as beautiful as I thought it was. Give it to those who had the time to analyze the book.

One reason I see is I don’t see Antonia as a heroine. Her character is strongly built up from the start of the book. I am really disappointed that she doesn’t end up being successful. The one who has analyzed it in one of my classes shared that the perception of being successful is being happy and contented in life which Antonia “clearly” embodies.

 My problem is I can’t see in anyway how having a poor life in Nebraska and having many children can be a measurement of success. Sure, she is happy. Sure her family loves her. But wouldn’t it be better if she would have money to spend on good clothes, quality education, and sufficient food? Yes, this is a modern and quite materialistic view of things. But happiness surely can’t feed hungry stomachs. If it could, then we shouldn’t have culprits.

The other reason is the style. Perhaps I am more into the fast-paced straight to the point story of Arthur Conan Doyle and Jack London. Perhaps I should learn more about stylistics and appreciate the beauty of local color and the likes. Nah.

The third reason is,….actually this is not as a good reason as I think it is. I am frustrated that Jim Burden and Antonia Shimerda don’t end up with each other no matter how I read the book. They end up being friends. You say I’m quite being romantic but hey, The  voice of the story somehow hints romance between them and ofcourse I expected that at the end they would be together. But no.

I am aware that this is a very unprofessional book review. Immature for a Literature student. But I am not going to pretend that I like the book even for a single bit. I’ll give it 20% because od the characters’ behaviors though. But as I was saying, I don’t want to make myself believe that I appreciate the book because like what I have read from C.S. Lewis’ Narnia, (poorly rephrased though—haven’t the knack yet to accurately say lines from books) “human beings have the knack of believing a lie they have made themselves to believe.” The sad thing is they believe in that lie until they die. And I don’t want to die lying against myself because of a book. And a boring book at that.

1 comment:

Maria said...

I agree. Maybe because there's too much build-up between the narrator and title character that's why you can't help but expect that something will happen.
The character, Antonia, didn't evolve at all. She was back where she started.
If it's the author's intention to make us believe that wishing for simple things is the way to happiness, then maybe we, the readers are mistaken. Or maybe it is the wish of readers for something more.