“Research Paper My Antonia”

In an author’s perspective, I believe that it is always important to express their way of thinking, beliefs and through their character’s role. Authors seek a way to establish a vision on the readers. Some may do it through real life events and others by fictional events. Both authors in a way relate to inspire and make a reader think and acknowledge different views and stand points. One of the best authors to accomplish this is Willa Cather, author of fictional novel “My Antonía” and Ursula le Guin who wrote “The ones who walk away from Omelas. “They were smart at creating the reader’s feel sympathy, sadness, happiness, suspense electroconvulsive therapy.


I believe empathy is the most important trait in regards to the author connecting the readers. A perfect example of this is in the novel “The ones who walk away from Omelas.” In this novel empathy kicks in severely in my opinion as the author deeply describe the situation in were looked up in very bad living conditions and made you feel bad for them. Ursula le guin does an extraordinary job by making you the reader question yourself in the character position and make you think what decision you were mostly likely have made. This to me is very powerful because we are obligated to see reality through the eyes of the characters and forces us to see the characters struggles to overcome obstacles that we might not have faced or even never imagined even happening. This might even lead to making the reader not think of him or her first and putting others in very harsh situations ahead of them as empathy makes almost everyone a better person.

In the novel my Antonia written by Willa Cather people can relate to life experiences at is clearly shown Jim started to feel the importance of home after being away for many years even though he had created a very successful career as a lawyer. Even though Jim migrated from Virginia a state within the U.S this shows a perfect example of how people including myself and those surrounded me adapt to what is better for us as for others people point of view they might think that is easy to settle if you moved just from a state to state as Jim did. For example, in the novel my Antonia the protagonist Antonia states that I quote “It may be as easy for you but it would be hard for us” referring to Jim and their different migrations situation. In my opinion Antonia has a point because by doing it you will overcome immigrating across borders facing language and culture barrier etc.

An important lesson shown in the novel my Antonia was the necessity of labor as the character named Antonia father commits suicide and leaves Antonia and her two siblings with their mom. They were already struggling economically with her father being the head of household. Now Antonia decided that she had to do something about it. She started working endingless with a very strong work ethic. She didn’t care what others said or thought all she wanted to do is provide for her family and overcome what they were dealing with. Antonia only went forward with this a lot of people notice her hardworking efforts and offered better jobs. All of these events led to changing Antonia as a person and gave her a strong-minded attitude. This shows the audience the importance of not being spoiled and the importance of being able to the action when it is most needed. This event in the novel “My Antonia” show us that we must not take over parents for granted and that life can literally change over night and that some of us need to be strong minded. Also, with hard work and dedication everything will fall into place and you will be thankful for the effort you put in.

As much as the two books are different in terms of setting, they share similar ties in depicting the ethical and social values of the society we live in.  In terms of the human relationship, the book by My Antonia” explores the relationship between Jim Burden and Antonia; both brought as Children to Nebraska. Despite being separated in multiple occasions, they still are fond of each other the city that brought them up.  They share the harsh realities of life and the environment, leaving them with solid impressions and making them lifelong (Slayton 1).  On the other hand, in the short story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, in the utopian city of Omelas, there also seems to be a relationship between the residents, where there is seemingly a happy occasion. In the festival, people interact happily, have fun events, and children are preparing for a horse race, and some spectators are outside (Bennett 63). The two stories, though differently, depict the social and interactive lives of human beings, where in each case, humans are seen as social beings who need each other for survival.

The central narrative of My Antonia is a look into the values of society.  The first identified issue is that of Social stratification, where there is the categorization of people’s ranking in the society in terms of race and wealth. Mr. Shimerda maintains his pride with regard to social standing. This is the reason why it has been difficult for him to move to America. Social standing is considerably more important to him than it is to Antonia.  Another social being identified in “My Antonio” is the social treatment of hired girls compared to wealthy girls. The hired girls are viewed to be beneath the wealthy ones. However, to the boys, they seem to be more sexually attractive. This is the smear sort of loyalty and energy that draws Jim to Antonia.  According to the book, the girls are simple, have not learned much, and are not as ambitious as the wealthy ones (Slayton 1).  However, Jim is critical of the boys in town and how they treat the hired girls. However, he, too, is affected by the social standing of the immigrant girls.  These are social values that are well depicted in the book and represent the contemporary world about who the lesser privileged girls may be positioned in society. Sometimes, their attributes are attractive to the boys.

On the other hand, the social values of the people of the Utopian city of Omelas, cultural and social values is the key theme of the story.  As great as the utopian society may appear to be, one of the community members, a young child, is secretly locked in a basement. She is n only fed corn meals and grease and remains perpetually in the dark. The society members believe that their fate depends on “this child’s abominable misery (Bennett 64).” This is a societal belief in the culture of the people of Omelas, where despite their knowledge of the torture and hard life they give to the child, they still believe that he would be the sacrificial lamb that would make the rest of the population happy.  Their beliefs represent some cultural norms with different cultures, which may be harmful to some people. Still, people believe in them due to the fear of the negative implications of leaving the beliefs and practices.  Some cultures may be in place by societies to preserve their own happiness irrespective of what the cultures may have on other people.

Despite the different settings, the two books expound more on cultural values and societal norms. In “My Antonia,” the way people of different social classes are treated represents the values and beliefs of the different individuals within diverse societies. On the other hand, in Omelas, the people have weird cultural beliefs of mistreating an innocent young child, where they believe that it is a way of ensuring that they remain happy and that fate may favor them. A difference as the two may manifest that the theme of societal values and beliefs depicts how the authors decide to structure each book and pass on a critical message on the broader issues facing most societies and communities today.


Cather’s work. “My Antonia” and “The ones who walk away from Omelas” are two different books with different storylines that depict the world’s societal beliefs nada lues. In “My Antonia,” Cather generally illustrates the story of Jim and Antonia, who have had a strict background, where they were immigrants. Still, their friendship never dwindled, and neither did they ever forget about their friendships and the place which raised them. On the contrary, in “The ones who walk away from Omelas, the values and traditions of the Omelas are depicted, where they sacrifice the happiness and joy of an innocent child for the sake of their happiness. The two have almost similar themes, which reflect the norms and values of the current society.



Works Cited

Bennett, Barbara. “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.” The English Journal Vol. 94, No. 6 (2005): 63-68.

Slayton, Robert. ““My Ántonia” Revisited.” (2017). <https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/my-antonia-revisited/>.



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