How is religion treated in My Antonia, and which religion  is shown in a better light?

Expert Answers info

daveb eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2004

write51 answers

starTop subject is Literature

When Mr. Shimerda kills himself or dies (depending on your interpretation of the scene) the entire saga seems to suggest that the Shimerda's particular brand of religion is entirely rigid, unwieldy and unfair. The book even includes the scene of Mr. Shimerda being buried at the crossroads, a...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 149 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

sagetrieb eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write852 answers

starTop subject is Literature

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


emmiebabe34 | Student

Though your question s about religion, your description is less about religion and more about cultural traditions. And the Shimerdas are actually Catholic, though they may have some Orthodox practices.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
osemin | Student

My Antonia is a book loaded with religious symbolism. The morals in the book are strongly grounded in religious ideas and many symbolic moments are achieved via allusions to the bible.

One such example is in Chapter 7 Book 1, where Antonia and Jim are digging and playing innocently in a garden. A snake appears and Jim kills it with a spade. One could compare this scene to Genesis chapter 2, the story of Adam and Eve. In Genesis the snake causes Adam and Eve to lose their innocence. However when Jim kills the snake it symbolizes that Jim and Antonia will not lose their innocence, at least in their relationship with each other. It will remain pure.

As to which religion is shown in a better light? That is difficult to say. My Antonia is a story that is profoundly about the founding of America and the immigrant's tale. It deals with the roots of American heritage and so those ideas that first founded America are the most purely American. Therefore, I would say the Shimerdas' orthodox beliefs are considered more favorably and more pure by the book then the "socially accepted" beliefs of the Burdens.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial