Willa Cather?s My Antonia
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English 152-5

Fairview High School


November 12, 1997
Willa Cather?s My Antonia: Success
The American college dictionary defines success as 1. The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors, 2. The gaining of wealth, possessions, or the like. This has been the general seances for the past hundred years or more. But in more modern days the prospective of success has changed slightly. It has shifted to having a good education, going to collage, getting a carrier getting married & having children. Having your own home and eventually dying and passing it all on to a child or children. Success is no longer satisfaction or personal goals. It has been supplemented by the goals society has preset for the populous that have been drilled into the minds of the young from the very beginning. To a man named Santiago in The Old Man and The Sea by: Earnest Hemingway, success was to conquer the Marlin Santiago had fought for so long. But as a cruel twist of fate his success is taken away in an instant when the prize he had fought so hard for was eaten by sharks, leaving Santiago with no spoils left to show for his hard fight. He was even so crushed by of the loss of the Marlin that he cried out to the sea ?I am beaten.....hear stands a broken man? (234). Santiago still experienced success in the fashion that when he returned to port the little boy named Manolin that he had taught how to fish earlier in the novel was allowed to come back to fish with him. This was the ultimate form of success that was perceived for Santiago by Hemingway. To Jean Valjean in Les Misreables By: Victor Hugo , Valjean?s success was represented in the form of going from convict to loving father of a daughter. The little girl named Cosette may not have been his true daughter, but after he had had dinner with a bishop that had seen the possibility of good in he started the transformation of his life. he met Cosettes mother and vowed to save her daughter from the place where she was being kept. The success Valjean experienced was what made his character the man that he was. But to Willa Cather in My Antonia, Antonia represents the highest form of success in this life.
Antonia?s form of success is mandated by the way she follows the path in life that has been laid out before her. She by nature was a country girl. She only visited Denver once, and for the majority of her life she stayed in and around Black Hawk and Lincoln. She lived out the way of life that was most natural to her. She was so driven by that success that she had achieved that she became a mother prematurely. But she is so driven to follow her path that not even becoming a mother early could stop her from following her path. (320) ? Father Kelly says that every one is put into this world for something, and I know what I?ve got to do. I?m going to see that my little girl has a better chance than I ever had. I?m going to take care of that girl.? and she does. She takes splendid care of the girl and marries a man named Cuzak. He is by his nature a city man. But that wouldn't stop Antonia from doing what she had set out to do. Become a mother and a harvenger of life. Jim visited Antonia later in life but there was a twenty year gap in the time that they saw or herd from each other. When Jim saw her next he noticed this (343) ?As I confronted her, the changes grew less apparent to me, her identity stronger. She was there, in full vigor of her personality, battered but not diminished, looking at me, speaking to me in the husk, breathy voice I remember so well.? She had been through so much during her life, she had birthed a child by her self, and gone on to over ten more. She brought life unto the desolate land. Not only children. She had created a farm with apples orchards, cattle, chickens and much more. She had brought life too the desolate landscape of untouched