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Return to the nature an ecocritical interpretation

Antonia, the heroine of the novel, is the eldest daughter of the Shimerda family, who have emigrated from Bohemia and settled on a patch of property in the Nebraska plains. When Jim first met Antonia return to the nature an ecocritical interpretation the age of nine, he found her a pretty little girl four year older than him. Newly arriving at the Nebraska prairie, they saw endless wilderness before their eyes: As I looked about me I felt that the grass was the country, as the water is the sea.

The red of the grass made all the great prairie the color of wine-stains, or of certain seaweeds when they are first washed up. And there was so much motion in it; the whole country seemed, somehow, to be running. The Shimerdas and others on the great plains are making their peace, if not their fortune with nature: This feeling is natural—Madhav Gadgil points out that kinship and reciprocity, which hold human societies together, was, in subsistence-agricultural peoples, extended to include nonhumans as well because nonhuman members of the fellowship provided humans with food, water, and shelter [iv].

Antonia demonstrates an unrestrained love of life. Elizabeth Sergeant believed that Cather intended for Antonia to be an integral part of the land and a maternal presence to which a youth like Jim Burden could only respond with love: Harling in Black Hawk, that a detached lonely boy could think of her in the confused terms of a youthful projection of love and nature blended [vi]. Even in bearing her child she fulfills he role of New World Demeter, who sanctions the fertility of both the land and woman: That very night it happened.

She got her cattle home, turned them into the corral, and went into the house, into her room behind the kitchen. There, without calling to anybody, without a groan, she lay down and bore her child.

With the maternal affection of Demeter, Antonia vows to protect her daughter from masculine forces: And, she keeps her words: Not until her illegitimate daughter grows up and marries, does Antonia reluctantly give her up. Antonia herself becomes Charity, the greatest virtue, for even her faults had resulted from abundance of love—as she confesses at the end: The sun was sinking just behind it.

Happiness Is Returning to Nature: An Ecocritical Interpretation of My Antonia

Magnified across the distance by the horizontal light, it stood out against the sun, was exactly contained within the circle of the disk; the handles, the tongue, the share—black against the molten red. There it was, heroic in size, a picture writing on the sun 118. Rather than lead a life of self-imposed guilt or exile, Antonia rebounds: She tells Jim directly that she would be miserable in a city. I like to be where I know every stack and tree, and where all the ground is friendly. When Jim returns to the prairie to see Antonia after they have departed twenty years before, he finds that the waste land has been transformed into fertile farm and Antonia has a paradisal garden to prove that she belongs to the farm.

  • Destructively, ecocriticism might read texts which ignore the natural world or relegate it to little more than background, or else demonstrate an instrumental view of nature;
  • When I and Biff hung the swing between them?
  • For Willy, all the living things in the backyard represent the harmonious relationship between man and nature;
  • After he returns from the west part, he finds that he is not suitable for the modern life in big cities.

The house is nearly buried in a forest of hollyhocks, and thorny locust hedges enclose the yard. She always makes it as good for me as she could.

Happiness Is Returning to Nature: An Ecocritical Interpretation of My Antonia

Now, her children press around her, and the farm in general offers a picture of fecund creativity, of swarming life: Antonia loves life so much that she is even kind to animals. Explaining her fear of guns to Jim, Antonia says: Farm life is simple but wholesome. Thus Jim actually distinguishes Antonia, who, despite personal tragedy, summoned the courage to live well in middle age and beyond. While Antonia remained on the frontier, doing the work required to turn a wild landscape into the domestic basis of civilization, Jim went to east to study law and then to become a powerful railroad company lawyer.

According to the Renaissance pastoral, this paradise includes many elements: Overcoming hardships of her life through stalwart struggle, Antonia triumphs—her triumph is based on quests for permanent value and meaning. But can it be possible today for us to gain happiness —to return to nature?

  1. This article is part of the research project of Ecocriticsm and Modern American Fiction funded by the educational department of Shaanxi province.
  2. While Antonia remained on the frontier, doing the work required to turn a wild landscape into the domestic basis of civilization, Jim went to east to study law and then to become a powerful railroad company lawyer. Kellert and Edward O.
  3. This feeling is natural—Madhav Gadgil points out that kinship and reciprocity, which hold human societies together, was, in subsistence-agricultural peoples, extended to include nonhumans as well because nonhuman members of the fellowship provided humans with food, water, and shelter [iv].

My Antonia is not simply a study on an individual, but on the destiny that binds us into the future. This article is part of the research project of Ecocriticsm and Modern American Fiction funded by the educational department of Shaanxi province. Literature, Biology and the Environment Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press, 2003 93.

Landmarks in Literary Ecology, C. Kellert and Edward O. The Edwin Mellen Press, 1990 150. The Edwin Mellen Press, 1990 144.

  1. Harling in Black Hawk, that a detached lonely boy could think of her in the confused terms of a youthful projection of love and nature blended [vi]. The house is nearly buried in a forest of hollyhocks, and thorny locust hedges enclose the yard.
  2. I like to be where I know every stack and tree, and where all the ground is friendly.
  3. University of Georgia Press, 1996. As I looked about me I felt that the grass was the country, as the water is the sea.
  4. If society is not harmonious, people will feel lonely and unhappy. She got her cattle home, turned them into the corral, and went into the house, into her room behind the kitchen.
  5. They massacred the neighborhood. Environmentalists are concerned with the preservation and conservation of the environment for human use.

Wilson, eds Washington, D. Literature, Biology and the Environment. University of Virginia Press, 2003. Four Women Respond to the American Landscape. Landmarks in Literary Ecology. University of Georgia Press, 1996. The Coming Biophilia Revolution. Willa Cather and Classic Myth: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1990.