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My Antonia

By Willa Cather

Lesson Review

Writing Assignment #1: After reading, complete any two of the essay questions below.

1. Jim defines happiness in Book I, Section II (just at the end) as “ . . . to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.” Would Antonia agree with this definition?

_ Write a 250-word essay, formal tone, to express your opinion about this question.

_ Be sure to include at least three quotes that will strengthen your argument.

2. Mr. Shimerda begs Jim to “Te-e-ach, te-e-ach my Antonia” in Book I, Section III (just at the end). Who learns more through their relationship, Jim or Antonia?

_ Write a 250-word essay, formal tone, to express your opinion about this question.

_ Be sure to include at least three quotes that will strengthen your argument.

3. In My Antonia, Cather uses symbols from nature to express the essential aspects of the lives of the characters. Some symbols are of the land: the prairie, the grass, winter, etc. Other symbols are animals: badgers, wolves, rattlesnakes, larks, etc.Choose three symbols and discuss how they convey information about the daily lives of the characters, how the characters relate to each other and/or how Cather views life.

_ Write a 250-word essay, formal tone, to express your opinion about this question.

_ Be sure to include at least three quotes that will strengthen your argument.

4. Overall, Cather seems to admire Antonia. Name and discuss three characteristics that Antonia exhibits that lead to Cather’s admiration.

_ Write a 250-word essay, formal tone, to express your opinion about this question.

_ Be sure to include at least three quotes that will strengthen your argument.

5. The poem, A Wagner Matinee, resembles My Antonia in its theme and as a celebration of the beauty of the prairie.Read this poem online at http://cather.unl.edu/ss011.html

Draw parallels between the poem and the book.

_ Write a 250-word essay, formal tone, to express your opinion about this question.

_ Be sure to include at least three quotes that will strengthen your argument.

6. Cather’s depiction of Jim’s grandparents’ reaction to the Roman Catholic faith of the Shimerdas illustrates yet another major difference between the established Protestant Americans and the immigrants. How might this difference be a reflection of religious and political disputes brought from Europe to the United States?

_ Write a 250-word essay, formal tone, to express your opinion about this question.

_ Be sure to include at least three quotes that will strengthen your argument.

Writing Assignment #2: Choose one of the topics below to further your research into the living conditions of the American pioneers.

  • Write a 250-word formal essay, correctly citing all reference materials in APA format, on this topic: “Pioneer Living Conditions in Nineteenth-Century Nebraska”
  • Invent a character of your own, and write a 450-word short story detailing pioneer living conditions from that character’s perspective.
  • Write a 250-word formal essay, correctly citing all reference materials in APA format, on this topic: “Willa Cather’s Life: An Illustration of the Key Values of the Heartland.”
  • Write a 250-word short story detailing pioneer living conditions from a woman’s point of view.

Adapted from: Pioneer Values in Willa Cather’s My Antonia — http://edsitement.neh.gov

Helpful site:

Visit this link for information on using APA style.

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

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