What techniques are used in My Antonia to make the descriptions of the landscape vivid?
More than anything else what lingers on in the mind after reading this book is the intense, passionate and above all evocative way that the landscape of the frontier is described in this work and in Cather's literature as a whole. Throughout the text, Willa Cather's immense love and yearning for the freedom of the prairies becomes evident. One description that is classic of this feeling comes in the second chapter of the book, when the narrator has just arrived in his new home and is exploring:
I can remember exactly how the country looked to me as I walked beside my grandmother along the faint wagon-tracks on that early September morning. Perhaps the glide of long railway travel was still with me, for more than anything else I felt motion in the landscape; in the fresh, easy-blowing morning wind, and in the earth itself, as if the shaggy grass were a sort of loose hide, and underneath it herds of wild buffalo were galloping, galloping...
Consider how the comparison of the earth to the herd of wild buffalo and how this helps communicate a sense of the motion of the landscape. Such stylistic techniques help to perfectly capture the apparent movement of the land with the grass moving with the wind, reflecting the intensely natural aspect of the environment and how it is able to spark the imagination, in the same way that it has done to the narrator.