What is Antonia's response to the idea of raising her child by herself in My Antonia?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Antonia approaches the prospect of raising her child by herself with an attitude of strength and determination. Mrs. Stevens says about Antonia,

"Antonia's got on fine. She'd loved (the baby) from the first as dearly as if she'd had a ring on her finger, and was never ashamed of it...no baby was ever better cared for" (Book IV, Chapter 3).

After the man who had promised to marry Antonia impregnates her and abandons her, Antonia returns home in disgrace. She accepts the consequences of her mistake with quiet steadiness, working tirelessly on her family's farm each day like a man, and enduring the abuse of her brother Ambrosch. She is "crushed," but maintains an unconquerable dignity, and when her baby is born, she cares for it with love and tenderness, even though her brother wants to drown it "out in the rain barrel." Antonia is "a natural-born mother," and tells Jim that, here at home in her beloved countryside, she knows what she must do. Antonia is going to cherish and care for her baby, and

"...see that (her) little girl has a better chance than (she, Antonia) ever had" (Book IV, Chapter 4).
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My Antonia

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