In My Antonia, what did Lena, Tiny, and Antonia consider the basis of success and how well did they achieve it? This is according to their standards by the end of the novel.

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of the three girls, Lena's aspirations are most clearly spelled out.  She wants to live in the city and become a dressmaker, and she wants independence.  Married life is not for her, she does not want to "have to ask lief of anybody" (Book II, Chapter IV).  Lena achieves her goals, and retains her humanity in the process.  She becomes an established dressmaker and later goes into business with Tiny, through it all retaining her independence.

Tiny's goals are not as clearly delineated early in the book.  She does like nice clothes and has a weakness for "playthings" (Book II, Chapter XIV).  Her hunger for materials things is realized in a fabulous way, she has a head for business and her participation in the Gold Rush leaves her very wealthy.  Unfortunately, she does not find true fulfillment in her achievements.  She is "satisfied...but not someone in whom the faculty of becoming interested is worn out" (Book IV, Chapter I).

Antonia loves the land, thrives on hard work, and is proud of her strength.  She is passionate, and can "never...believe harm in anyone (she) loves".  Her life is difficult, but she emerges triumphant and fulfilled.  With her poor but loving husband and many, many children, she is, at the end of the book, "a rich mine of life, like the founders of early races" (Book V, Chapter I).

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My Antonia

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