Beard Necessities (Winston Brothers, #7) climate change

❰Read❯ ➲ My Ántonia Author Willa Cather –

Here lie glorious character sketches Be sure to pay your respects I dragged my feet I came late to the party I regret it.This is one of those books I ve known about for ages, but was ignorant and flat out mistaken about its subject matter A friend in college wrote a poem based off of it and my impression from that experience was that My Antonia was about a man describing a woman for the length of an entire novel That would be a gross oversimplification of the book It s so muchthan that.It s one of the stories that America is founded upon Immigrants who ve left their homeland on the promise of a better life in the new world The new world America in this case meant the far midwest, those lonely plains at the foot of the Rockies The immigrants this time around are Czechs, referred to as Bohemians in the novel Some of them didn t start out in this country with much and lived a hardscrabble life I cherish books like this and The Jungle or The Grapes of Wrath, where immigrants or earlier Americans gave it their all for the dream and often died trying Whether it s victory or defeat it doesn t matter, it s the struggle that counts Fiction this may be, but the story is a real one My own family came to America from Finland about the same time this book is set They farmed the land and found hard times, but they survived Hearing those stories is a true marvel to behold Willa Cather tells her own, truly marvelous tales in My Antonia Her people are born from precision craftsmanship that refrains from the ponderous grocery list descriptions of physical traits and habits of characters that other writers indulge in Instead Cather cuts to the essence of the person with excellent word choice time and again, planting in the reader s mind fruitful, full color images of exactly who she s talking about As alluded to at the start of this review, this novel is all about the character sketches They move the story, much the same way as Sherwood Anderson s Winesburg, Ohio However, since the characters come alive and are so very lively, the lack of a hard driven, singular plot is no hinderance to one s enjoyment of My Antonia. What a spell Willa Cather weaves in this, the final book of her Great Plains Trilogy, sometimes known as the Prairie Trilogy This novel,than any of the two previous novels, reminded me absurdly yet so strongly of Kent Haruf s novels Absurdly Yes their time frame is separated by a few generations and their locations separated by a few States in between Yet, it is the atmosphere created, the way the stories are told simply yet clearly and with great feeling these are the qualities that make me want to hug these books.I had tears running down my cheeks a few times in this book One incident that moved me very strongly was when 20 year old Jim and 24 year old Antonia say goodbye before he heads off East toward his destiny The way the setting was described and how they shared that moment together their last time together until twenty years into the future was so beautifully poignant it just moved my soul.Once again, Willa Cather s skill as a writer, her ability to create brilliantly coloured moving pictures with her words, and her keen insight into the hearts and souls of many diverse characters shines in this novel I cared so much about these people, about the hardships they endured, about the successes they celebrated, and about the losses they mourned.Willa Cather can move a story forwardduring one paragraph than many writers can in a chapter and she does so with in depth character insight as well as vivid descriptions and flowing plots I love this book and recommend it to everyone who enjoys beautiful literature that has no need to draw attention to itself it just is And to experience it is sublime. Through Jim Burden S Endearing, Smitten Voice, We Revisit The Remarkable Vicissitudes Of Immigrant Life In The Nebraska Heartland, With All Its Insistent Bonds Guiding The Way Are Some Of Literature S Most Beguiling Characters The Russian Brothers Plagued By Memories Of A Fateful Sleigh Ride, Antonia S Desperately Homesick Father And Self Indulgent Mother, And The Coy Lena Lingard Holding The Pastoral Society S Heart, Of Course, Is The Bewitching, Free Spirited Antonia James Quayle Burden loses both his parents at the tender age of ten in Virginia near the Blue Ridge Mountains, sent by relatives to his grandparents Josiah and Emmaline Burden by train, in the custody of a trusted employee that worked for his late father teenager Jake Marpole, reaching the farm safely in the still wild prairie state of Nebraska, newly settled by Americans, the Indians have been scattered and are no longer a threat , but the harsh frontier land remains untamed Colorful Otto Fuchs an immigrant from Austria, former cowboy Wild West stories he recites, reluctantly , of his experiences there and amiable Jake Marpole, who remains to help Jim s old relatives are very capable farm hands, that keep everything running smoothly quite needed by Jim s grandparents, he becomes their good friend Many of the these new settlers are from Europe, lured by the American government s promise and the law, that anyone who lives a certain amount of years on a property, it becomes theirs But many poor Europeans arriving are from the cities, not knowing how to farm unable to build a log cabin, raise crops take care of animals that are essential to survive the unforgiving climate, hot excruciating summers and cold, snowy, freezing winters The neighbors feels very sorry for these incompetents, get them out of their holes in the ground and make a proper home of wood log cabins , give them animals which are vital to maintain a successful farm, show how to raise a crop, corn, even their old clothes to wear A family from Bohemia Czech Republic are one of these people, not speaking a word of English the Shimerdas, living in a cave starving, no proper clothes dirt poor city folks the closest to Jim s grandparent s home He meets pretty, lively, Antonia Tony Shimerda four years older, teaches her English at the urging of her unhappy father, the mother is always complaining about her lack of things and will never be grateful They become pals, exploring the nearby untouched lands the endless, constantly moving red grass caused by the gentle winds and blue skies, seeing the fascinating sights , swimming in the local river s pristine water, picnics in the wilderness Jim falls in love with Antonia even trying to kiss her on the lips, she laughs at him treating the young boy like a child, puts her arms around his shoulders They grow older, climbing a chicken house once to the roof, seeing an exhilarating electric storm in the night sky, lightning flashing close but not scared they re together, become almost adults and remain friends The aging grandparents move to Black Hawk Red Cloud , a small town which Jim likes a short distance from their farm, it is rented to a widow and her brother Jim can never stop loving My Antonia, her solid character working like a man in the fields to help her large family never quitting, treated badly by her stern brother Ambrosch, but in good humor when she comes home dead tired , soiled ragged clothes, face and body turned brown by the unceasing Sun, an optimist forever as young, clever, Burden leaves for college first in Lincoln the state capital, at the new University of Nebraska and then Harvard , becomes a rich railroad lawyer like Abraham Lincoln He will come back and visit Antonia A novel that tells what it was really like to live and struggle in the lonely prairie, during the nineteenth century in the American Midwest, not romantic but plenty of misery and a little happiness. There seemed to be nothing to see no fences, no creeks or trees, no hills or fields If there was a road, I could not make it out in the faint starlight There was nothing but land not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made Willa Cather,My ntonia For someone who grew up watching Little House on the Prairie , this was an interesting and nostalgic look at my childhood fancies and romanticized images of frontier life Making a new life, taming the land, and creating something out of very little all sounded so romantic and magical to me at the time but there was so much that I hadn t considered, couldn t have known, with my limited worldly experience I guess that s one of the many reasons that literature is so powerful giving a voice to experiences.This is a story of the early settlers in Nebraska a story of hardships, successes, community, change The story is narrated by an orphaned boy who goes to live with his grandparents after his parents pass away The narration was very detailed and observant.The story focuses quite a bit on ntonia Shimerda, and her Bohemian family.I thought the character of ntonia was exceptionally well written I think she s one of those unforgettable literary characters, and that s definitely due to Cather s amazing writing and depiction of her Cather manages to show the language development ntonia goes through,and also the development of her character from being an ordinary little girl playing with her sister and friends, to working like a mans in order to support her family The older girls, who helped to break up the wild sod, learned so much from life, from poverty, from their mothers and grandmothers they had all, like Antonia, been early awakened and made observant by coming at a tender age from an old country to a new Having moved around a bit I really enjoyed the descriptions of the landscapes because at least to me, apart from food, that s what I miss the most about leaving a place the familiarity in scenery, flora, and fauna The small differences in landscape are an unavoidable sign that you are in a new placeThere was none of the signs of spring for which I used to watch in Virginia, no budding woods or blooming gardens There was only spring itself the throb of it, the light restlessness, the vital essence of it everywhere in the sky, in the swift clouds, in the pale sunshine, and in the warm, high wind rising suddenly, sinking suddenly, impulsive and playful like a big puppy that pawed you and then lay down to be petted There was interesting discussion about the European immigrants to the USA What shouldn t have surprised me but did anyway, was the fact that even among the European immigrants there was plenty of discrimination and also an unofficial hierarchy What was universal though was the sense of loss from all the characters who had migrated to that area, despite their origins and loss.I m fully convinced of Cather s writing style Cather brought the frontier to life for me, the Bohemians, ntonia, everyone and everything I loved that she brought to the fore the stories of the people of the New World, especially the women. This Nebraskan prairie civilization is like the dogtown that lives below it It is a web of families favors And that s the way of life Antonia, the magnetic and emblematic figure in the middle of it all in this narrative of remembrance, of singular impressions is a strong rock, a hardworking beacon of goodness in a world that is simultaneously vast asphyxiating, with its rattlesnakes, sicknesses, suicides and slight silver linings Also a sight to behold the kindness of strangers how falling in love cannot possibly occur in the prairie, that ever desolate place in our very own American continent. I d like to have you for a sweetheart, or a wife, or my mother or my sister anything that a woman can be to a man The idea of you is a part of my mind You influence my likes and dislikes, all my tastes, hundreds of times when I don t realize it You really are a part of me Oh, Jim She really did a number on you I guess it couldn t be helped, because after knowing Antonia Shimerda, I can t help being enad with her myself It is not even easy to say things so illuminating about a human being but somehow, seeing Antonia from the eyes of Jim Burden, I totally understand where he s coming from Antonia exudes strength, spirit and determination, and all the while remains gentle, trusting, and kind What Jim feels for her goes beyond romantic love, though She is the embodiment of the things he loves most home, his childhood, and his aspirations The way I see it, she is what makes him a better man Nevertheless, My Antonia is not a love story, it hardly focuses on that aspect at all With Antonia s story, we get a glimpse on the lives and concerns of early settlers, which includes European immigrants, of the American West It shows us what these people have to contend with, and struggle for, that goes to the very heart of their lives.Now most of the pioneer stories I have come across depict rugged and determined male characters out to tame the wilderness with know how and grit, while their female halves are relegated to supporting or I dare say insignificant roles My Antonia breaks from that convention and instead, focusedon the struggles of the women It s an invaluable reminder that life was hard for everyone on the frontier, and that the women who made a go of it were every bit as tough minded and independent as the men were Antonia faces hardships of scratching out a living on the prairie, while having to do so as a woman, and while dealing with the challenges of being an immigrant as well As with the writing, Willa Cather masterfully tells a poignant and beautiful story that is striking in its simplicity She makes you realize anew how much art is suggestion and not transcription, and her brevity is refreshing I know of no novel that makes the remote folk of the Western prairiesreal than My Antonia makes them, and I know of none that makes them seem better worth knowing Beneath the layers of Mid Western culture, she reveals human beings embattled against fate and circumstance and into her picture of their dull struggles, I was able to appreciate their heroism, and find their tribulations genuinely moving. Some memories are realities, and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again p.259 More than a Wild West story about the adventurous frontier life in the Nebraska plains, I thought My ntonia was a novel about red seas of prairie grass and hard blue skies and black ploughs outlined against crimson suns and adults chasing the casted shadows of their pasts Prior to the comforting embrace of the Nebraskan landscape there was only the most profound homesickness Homesickness for an abandoned country, for lost parents, for the wistfulness of bygone childhood days, for words never uttered and love never fully declared Willa Cather s evocative voice builds a new home for the reader in this strange yet welcoming land, which turns the mundane into gold, while mourning for the loss of a past that won t ever come back Cather opens the novel meeting her own character Jim Burden and inviting him to recount the story of ntonia Shimmerda, a young Czech girl who grew up with him, and surprises the reader with an unexpected male voice and an unreliable narrator Jim, now a middle aged lawyer living in New York, retells their story casting an aura of nostalgia over the late 19thC Nebraska farming frontier, its landscape, colorful people and small towns Jim is barely ten years old when he loses his parents and is sent to live with his grandparents in an unfamiliar territory ntonia s longing for her original home in Bohemia is made unbearably real through her awareness of her father s misery in failing to adjust to a new hard working life in an foreign country, whose people and culture seem alien and rough to the cultivated Mr.Shimmerda This doubled feeling of homesickness is what so powerfully fastens Jim and ntonia together and what urges them to turn to the Nebraskan landscape in search of protection, developing an intense attachment to the natural world which captures their changing moods and eases their sense of estrangement, always in tune with the changing of the seasons.When the Burdens move to the small town of Black Hawk and ntonia is recruited as ahired girlat the Harlings, a household with good reputation in town, Jim realizes that along with the missing plains, his closeness to ntonia also starts to dissolve Cather s nuanced stories and picturesque tales disguise the impending collision between the hard reality of young immigrant women at the time, who were treated as outcasts in a rigid social caste system and not only exploited but also sexually abused by their masters, and the wide range of opportunities for young men like Jim, whose main aspiration is to attend college Life and years intervene and Jim and ntonia s paths diverge but their spiritual bond remains locked in the lengthening shadows of a common past embedded in the fleecy grass dancing with the gentle morning breeze that caresses the wine stained prairies.Cather s writing style taught me a valuable lesson Genuineness and diction thrive in simplicity Never had my heartstrings been pulled this intensely until I heard Blind d Arnault s melancholic negro voice and his virtuous fingers running up and down the keys of his piano while rocking back and forth to the rhythm of his improvized bluesy spirit Never had I felt the stillness of a slanting sun sinking behind the fields playing with magnified shadows as I did when I was sitting with Jim and ntonia in perfect communion with the countryside Never had I understood the true meaning of the kinship between hard work and fertility until I met its embodiment in a woman browned by the sun, with calloused hands and flat chest, an Earth Goddess who made a home out of a dusty land and a sheltering sky My ntonia made also a home for me in the Nebraska plains of the late 1800s and then made me grieve for its loss I might never see those plains but at least I can walk down the path of Jim s memories of red blades of grass and his ntonia s electric blue sky, where their souls remain eternally married in a past that becomes the prevailing reality and their one and only Destiny, and feel that I am home. I would have calledMy ntoniaan immigrant novel But then I realized that dubious distinction is reserved only for the creations of writers of colour Jhumpa Lahiri, Zadie Smith, Xiaolu Guo, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sunjeev Sahota, Yiyun Li, Lee Chang Rae and so on and so forth Especially now when the wordimmigrant , hurled at us ad nauseam from the airwaves and the domains of heated social media discussions, invokes images of gaunt, exhausted but solemnly hopeful faces of Syrians knocking on the doors of Europe and America, having voyaged across perilous waters that have already claimed many of their loved ones as price of admission Who are immigrants anyway Those who had the foresight and temerity to circumnavigate the globe and assert their self declared God given right to rule over lands inhabited by savages they could easily extirpate subjugate by dint of military might Or those who foolishly came afterwards, much much later, balancing their starry eyed dreams of fulfillment or often mere survival, on the crutch of that primeval instinct that humanity will vanquish the fact of man made demarcations, only to languish in exile for a lifetime pining away for a lost home they could never regain Let s separate the chaff from the grain Immigrants are always sallow skinned, tan complexioned, sun browned, needy Asians, Africans, Arabs, Latinos glibly umbrella termed into convenient one word identities And yet narrator Jim s ntonia epitomizes the immigrant s dream The dream of making a home out of an alien place, of finding comfort, success, a modicum of acceptance among complete strangers and perhaps, coming to own a sweep of land to settle in and spread one s roots Yes I know this is a eulogy offered to the prairies edged in gold in the dying light of dusk, an attempt to memorialize a way of life that the ill informed city dweller cannot begin to imagine, the author s wistful contemplation of a time and place frozen only in the amber of her memories Her earnest effort to capture the nuances of the hardscrabble life with the land, teeming with its secret life in visible and hidden corners, as permanent fixture in the farmer s existence But my reasons for 5 starring this are slightly different In that singular light every little tree and shock of wheat, every sunflower stalk and clump of snow on the mountain, drew itself up high and pointed the very clods and furrows in the fields seemed to stand up sharply I felt the old pull of the earth, the solemn magic that comes of those fields at nightfall. As far as central themes go, the American Dream is a b te noire within the repertoire of notable American fiction An ostensibly noxious concept deserving of indictment by authors who have found it commensurate with an obsession with the unattainable, a doctrine of mindless avarice that leads one down the path of self destruction But ntonia s version of the American Dream envisages a life of simple self sufficiency, despite the hardships it may entail It is worth protecting, worth immortalizing through the written word The sky rocketing desire for riches and social affluence is foreign to her Bohemian Czech sensibilities In a way she is an extension of the Nebraskan wilderness itself raw, rough and tender at the same time, inexplicably beautiful, cheerily resilient against the vicissitudes of fate and time, indomitable advocate of vitality and growth The whole prairie was like the bush that burned with fire and was not consumed That hour always had the exultation of victory, of triumphant ending, like a hero s death heroes who died young and gloriously It was a sudden transfiguration, a lifting up of day. For Jim Burden, ntonia is home, indelibly associated as she is with his boyhood days spent chasing rabbits and prairie dogs She is a personification of those bygone days sucked into the spiral of time that can never be recovered, but the incontrovertible reality of which will remain etched on to the palate of Jim s consciousness in the brightest of letters till his dying day Years afterward, when the open grazing days were over, and the red grass had been ploughed under and under until it had almost disappeared from the prairie when all the fields were under fence, and the roads no longer ran about like wild things, but followed the surveyed section lines, Mr Shimerda s grave was still there, with a sagging wire fence around it, and an unpainted wooden cross. Coming to the negatives, the casually racist comments directed at an African American characterHe was always a negro prodigy who played barbarously and wonderfullyand the exaltation of Antonia s womanhood could have curtailed my enjoyment somewhat but Cather did everything else so splendidly well that I m choosing not to nitpick Besides nowhere else within the wide realm of literature have I encountered such a believable depiction of friendship between a man and woman, each tied to the other through the bonds of shared childhood and a form of affection so wholesome that even a separation of two decades could not mellow it, each reduced to the status of a genderless individual, a blubbering emotional mess in the other s presence If I have, I cannot recall any such name at the moment About us it was growing darker and darker, and I had to look hard to see her face, which I meant always to carry with me the closest, the realest face, under all the shadows of women s faces, at the very bottom of my memory. Brava, Ms Cather. Maybe what I love about Willa Cather is all the kinds of love and belonging she writes Her unhappy marriages and her comfortable ones her volatile love and her unconsummated longing and her lone, happy people, are all so different, but so how I see the world I think the way she writes them is wise Unreliable narrators are delightful to read because, in the sense that the author has shown me their unreliability, she has also shown me their uniqueness and humanity I think Jim Burden, the narrator of My Antonia is a beautiful example of this and that most of the passion and mystery in this story comes from Jim s failings as a human, within the story, and even as a character, from a critical perspective I will explain.Cather presents the story My Antonia as a story within a story The narrative introducing the book comes from a friend of Jim s, who tells us that Jim has always had a romantic disposition, but that, as of the writing of the book, Jim is in a presumably loveless marriage with an awful woman who is temperamentally incapable of enthusiasm Jim s mind is consumed with memories of a Bohemian girl Jim and the author of the introduction both knew, and she represents to them both the country and the people of their childhoods Throughout the book, Antonia Shimerda and her warmth belong to the land and the people who love her, and when someone calls her my Antonia it means something about that belonging.It is impossible to truly identify with Antonia because Cather writes her in this unreliable way, and so, even though she is a painfully real character, she is told with lovely mistakes the mistakes we make in talking about people we love who we don t understand, who are not like us Anyway, I don t remember making this connection the last time I read this book, but for most of my life, people have referred to me as my Meredith I think maybe it is the alliteration that brings it on, but it has always baffled me For a long time, I found it horrifying The phrase had some kind of unsettling expectation to it Now, though, I feel differently I feel like it is lovely to belong to the people I care about, and the last time someone said it, it was just comfortable and true I m not saying that this makes me similar to Antonia Shimerda, but it made me think about how warm and human it is to belong to people like Antonia did.So, I m telling you about how this book is written by a woman, but from the perspective of a boy and then a man Writing across genders is suspicious to me, and so that unreliability piles on to the already suspect character of Jim And, I don t think Cather tells him fairly or realistically as a male character, or that this story is told as a man would tell it It is told in the way a woman would tell about a man s love, and I like that It has the insight of a woman into the motivations of another woman, but it has the gentleness of how a woman sees the emotions of men Cather always writes domestic stories, but there is also something epic about the tragedies, betrayals, and glory her characters encounter I don t think there is one in O Pioneers, but in most of her books she includes some story within the story in this case also within the larger story of a far off land, and those stories are my favorite part of the adventure of reading Willa Cather The story of the Russian wolves in My Antonia is my favorite.I am a very impressionable young thing, and so when someone explains to me why they love something, it often sticks and colors my interpretation of that thing in the future I am staunchly against the prairies, and the pioneers are usually dullsville In real life, when I am away from mountains for too long I freak out, and I have an aversion to reading about how to live in a dug out But Cather s wonderful descriptions of Nebraska change the whole idea for me I know it s just descriptions, but they are so vivid and beautiful I love the mountains, and I maintain that they arebeautiful than the prairies, but I could never describe the essence of the places I love like Cather does her places And her places are ick, so that makes her evenwonderful as a writer.Anyway, I love this book I listened to it on audio this time, and the audio is really lovely It is difficult to say whether this is my favorite Cather or O Pioneers is or The Professor s House is They are all wonderful This one has a quality I like of being driven by character, not plot, but that is not always a draw The people here are wonderful, timeless, and real The things they say are things people should say, and they belong to each other the way people should It is often brutal, in the way art should be brutal, with real feeling but, it is not cruel It tells how we should see each other and how we should be, but also how we do see each other and how we are It is a sort of magical world that is also real life, but I think that is how we talk about people we love suspiciously comfortable unreliable, but belonging.