Why is Jim an unreliable narrator in My Antonia?

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Willa Cather’s My Antonia is a story set in the American Midwest near the turn of the twentieth century. Readers of this novel can relate Antonia Shimerda’s journey to that of Cather’s since the book is based on her childhood experiences. A key component of this novel is the struggle of the Shimerda family as they relocate to Nebraska from Bohemia. They are strangers in a foreign culture. They have no farming experience, speak very little English, and are frightened immigrants.

Jim is the primary narrator of the nostalgic tale, although this might be a misnomer. He relates a personal tale of his journey from Virginia to Nebraska after being orphaned as a child:

I was ten years old then; I had lost both my father and mother within a year, and my Virginia relatives were sending me out to my grandparents, who lived in Nebraska.

For the purpose of discussion, the reader may compare Jim’s experiences to those of Antonia. However, that presents two problems when examining Jim’s...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1029 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on March 5, 2020
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