In the book My Antonia, name and discuss three characteristics that Antonia exhibits that lead to Cather's admiration.

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An author of a novel is not necessarily the narrator of that novel. In this case, the author of My Ántonia, Willa Cather, is different from the narrator, who is a fictional character named Jim Burden. Jim does admire Ántonia Shimerda. They both grew up poor on the plains of Nebraska, where they had many adventures out on the land together and became good friends. While there are numerous characteristics of Ántonia's that Jim admires, three main ones are her honesty, her vitality, and her kindness.

Ántonia can be said to represent to Jim all that is good and simple about his childhood before he moved to the East Coast to become a lawyer. Ántonia is linked to a simple, pure, and basic way of living on the land, where deep feeling and experience occur. As a character, Ántonia is full of life, expressive, and outgoing. She has an easy time making friends and children love her—for a while, she was a nanny. Jim likely admires these traits in Ántonia because he is a more reserved, scholarly person and does not express his joy or feelings as fluidly.

Life takes a hard turn for Ántonia in the sense that she has some difficult experiences, such as being sexually assaulted by her employer while she is a nanny, and later in life, a man she falls in love with abandons her while she is pregnant. Her life takes a different path than Jim's; he goes on to make a good career for himself as a lawyer. Ántonia goes on to have ten children with a farmer and remains poor in Nebraska. But her kindness and openness never change, and because of this, Jim holds her in high esteem his entire life. The fact that the title of the book is "My" Ántonia indicates she is as dear to him as his childhood itself. To conclude, Jim, the narrator, admires Antonia's honesty because she is expressive and open; her vitality because she has the rustic, rugged qualities of being a farmer in tune with nature; and her kindness because she has a good heart and moral motivations.

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Antonia has many admirable qualities. It’s always tricky to attribute any specific feelings about Antonia to Cather herself; it is definitely true that Jim admires Antonia, however, and is actually more than a little smitten with her. The things Jim sees in her are her impulsiveness, her loyalty to her family, and her capacity for love. While Jim is singled out by Mr. Shimerda to teach Antonia English, he‘s the one who receives an education. Antonia, through her care for her father and anguish at his death, teaches Jim about love and grief; when he kills the snake in the garden, Antonia’s gratitude teaches him a lesson about how it feels to protect others. Antonia’s self reliance, and her courage, teaches him that even when mistakes are made (as when she runs off with Larry Donovan) one can persevere and overcome them. Antonia comes to represent for Jim a kind of unattainable goal, and there is a recognition towards the end of the book that their separation is probably for the best. It’s as if Jim‘s life in Black Hawk was simply a kind of extended visit; he truly belongs to the East, while Tony, the immigrant, comes to embody the spirit of the plains.

I think it is possible to assign some of these feelings to Cather herself, but I think Cather is in some respects more sympathetic and less judging of Antonia than Jim is. Take, for example, the episode where Tony makes Jim spend the night in Wick Cutter’s house. Cutter clearly has tried to lay a plan where he will be able to assault Tony, but Tony tricks Jim into sleeping in the bed she was supposed to be in, so when Cutter finds him there, he gets a beating and has to make a hasty escape. Jim’s anger towards Tony afterwards is perhaps justified, but the difference between his feelings and Cather’s is that Cather understands the peril Antonia’s sexuality causes her, and sympathizes with her situation in ways that Jim can’t. In this sense, I think the quality that Cather most admires in Antonia is her ability to survive and overcome obstacles, while at the same time being true to herself.

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I think that Willa Cather admired Antonia's indomitable spirit. Although many hardships came her way, she was never defeated. Her defeats were temporary setbacks - her father's death, her pregnancy and abandonment, her situation at the Harlings.

Although Antonia is impulsive, Cather seems to admire this. When she compares Antonia's impulsiveness to the fearful Jim, Antonia always seems to come out ahead. Jim admires these qualities in Antonia, at the same time as he recognizes that they can be destructive. Antonia, unlike him, is not afraid to take risks like he is.

Antonia is also loyal. She is loyal to her terrible mother, even though her mother does not deserve it. She is loyal to her brothers, even though they don't treat her well. She is loyal to the Harlings and does not blame them when they do not approve of the choices she makes. She stuck it out a long time with the worthless Larry, who finally abandoned her when she got pregnant. She is also loyal to the man she winds up marrying. She admits to Jim that he has his foibles, but she has a large family and she has made the best of it. Jim envies her life when he returns to visit her years later.

Read about her here on enotes and you can find out more

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