“My Antonia,” by Willa Cather has many symbols through out the novel.
Symbolism reflects her own views as a child through her life. Some of these
symbols are Jim’s grandomother’s garden and snake-killing incident. Jim’s
grandomother’s garden made him fell as a part of nature, as human beings
originally were in the Garden of Eden. When he came to the garden he would also
wonder if people felt like this when they died and became a part of knowledge,
goodness, sun and air. His maturity makes him feel how he really feels about
Antonia. Jim was always afraid to tell Antonia how he felt about her. Ever since
Jim laid eyes on her, he knew that she was the love of his life, but didn’t want
to tell her because of the big difference of the social classes. Jim often
wondered if Antonia could serve as a motherm friend, lover or sweetheart. In the
garden Jim and Antonia would play around, work in the garden and picked potatos.
The garden symbolizes the freedom that children enjoyed during the youth years.
When the sanke-incident happens Antonia brags about how brave Jim was. Antonia
exclaimed to Jim’s family, “He fight something awful! He is all over
Jimmy’s boots. I scream for him to run, but he jsut hit an hit that snake like
he was crazy. (Page 33). At this point Jim realizes that Antonia was more that a
friend but Antonia sees him more like a little brother especially since he is
four years younger than him. Work can also be another symbol in the term that
Antonia worked hard in the farm. “Her neck came up strongly out of her
shoulders, like the hole of a tree out of the turf” Cather emphasizes.
Antonia goal was to prove her mother that she can work as well as Ambrosch leads
her to compete with the men plowing and to pick up masculine traits that
overshadow her feminity. Antonia would always work hard in the fields and people
knew she was a hard worker. This symbol of work showes how she does not give up
even though she is a girl. Through out the novel symbolism is often used in
every chapter. Willa Cather often used symbolism portaining to Jim and Antonia.
Willa Cather thought that using symbolism would bring more meaning to the novel.