Change and Transformation
Willa Cather's straightforward story of Ántonia Shimerda, a Bohemian immigrant to Nebraska, parallels the change in the lives of the two principal characters with the transformation of the Great Plains. Ántonia is fourteen when we first see her; Jim Burden ten. Both have been wrenched from their origins, Ántonia from her native Bohemia, Jim from his parents' home in Virginia. She is an immigrant. He is an orphan. It is no surprise we encounter them first in motion on a train. They are carried through an empty land. "There seemed to be nothing to...
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