Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Willa Cather's My Antonia. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
My Antonia: Introduction
My Antonia: Plot Summary
My Antonia: Detailed Summary & Analysis
My Antonia: Themes
My Antonia: Quotes
My Antonia: Characters
My Antonia: Symbols
My Antonia: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Willa Cather
Historical Context of My Antonia
Other Books Related to My Antonia
- Full Title: My Ántonia (pronounced with the accent on the first syllable)
- When Written: 1916–1918
- Where Written: New York City
- When Published: 1918
- Literary Period: Modernism
- Genre: Fiction
- Setting: Black Hawk, Nebraska in the 1880s
- Climax: When Ántonia starts attending the town dances, she asserts her independence by quitting her job with the Harlings and isolates herself from the Harlings and the Burdens.
- Antagonist: Ántonia. Although not a typical antagonist, her separation from Jim influences the course of his life. Minor antagonists: Wick Cutter; the winter.
- Point of View: First person
Extra Credit for My Antonia
Prairie Life: My Ántonia, the last of Cather's "prairie trilogy" of novels, is heavily autobiographical. Like Cather, Jim moves from Virginia to Nebraska at the age of ten, to a place heavily populated by Eastern European immigrants. The fictional Black Hawk, with its sod houses and bee bush, is largely based on Red Cloud, the Nebraska town where Cather lived. Throughout her life, Cather felt a great homesickness for her childhood years in Nebraska. Memories of the West fueled her writing throughout her career.
Willa the Tomboy: As a college student, Cather dressed as a tomboy and sometimes used the name "William." Most of her novels are written from the point of view of a male character. Though she never declared her sexual orientation, it has been a topic of debate among scholars.