What is the tone of My Antonia by Willa Carther?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The tone of a work of literature is of course the attitude of the author towards a subject, character or theme. The overwhelming focus of this great pioneer work of American Literature is the frontier and the kind of hope that it inspired in those who eagerly filled it with their dreams of a new life marked by success and provision for their families. One of the distinguishing features of this moving work is the many descriptions of the beauty of the frontier countryside. Note the following example from Chapter Four:

I used to love to drift along the pale yellow cornfields, looking for the damp spots one sometimes found at their edges, where the smartweed soon turned a rich copper colour and the narrow brown leaves hung curled like cocoons about the swollen joints of the stem.

There is evident in such descriptions a tone of child-like wonder and innocence at the beauty of nature, and thus we can describe this novel's tone as one of nostalgia, with the looking back that is represented throughout this text being idyllic and nostalgic.

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