My Ántonia

by Willa Cather, Report by Eve Vanderneck

The Prairie Experience

The prairie trip had many effects on me. Before we entered the preserved paradise, I believed the prairie to be one long, plain tan carpet of grass, with the occasional tree sprouting at random. But in order to really see the prairie as it is - an alive, thriving, masterpiece - you must take a closer approach on things.

Sitting in the prairie, at ground level, gives you a whole new perspective. The bland, even grass that you see from the road turns into a jungle of myriads of grasses, bugs, and plants. It starts to seem alive - and the colors and textures are so varied compared to what you can see from the road. The factor that made the prairie seem the most alive, though, was the wind. It moaned and wailed as its dark blanket of sound enveloped the land around me. The grass waved frantically at the slightest breeze and whooshed, making bigger sounds like the powerful ocean waves. The wind made the land seem so big. It must have floated in those powerful currents across the end of the world.

I enjoyed the prairie experience, though I wish we would have had more time to enjoy its beauty.

Theme of My Ántonia

One theme of My Ántonia is home is where the heart is. Though America was not Ántonia's real home, she learned to love it, and to make it her home. After she did this, she made so many connections and the land became important to her. This affects Jim too. Although it was not his place of birth, it will always be where his heart belongs. Even when he goes off to college, and goes on to do bigger and better things, he still returns to where is first love began. The love story stays rooted and forever a part of that land, the land that was their home.

My Ántonia and the Prairie

The prairie plays a much bigger role in this book than you would expect. In fact, the love story itself is of the unbreakable bond between human and home. Throughout reading this, you find yourself falling in love with the land, just as the characters do.

The land is also a very important factor to many people looking to find a new home back in the 1800's, and also still today. Many immigrants found a new land and home in the prairie. Farming and cultivating this land is a factor that our country depends on.

Whilst sitting in the prairie, looking just as it used to be back when pioneers and immigrants were first inhabiting it, I felt a deeper connection to the book characters, and also to the prairie. I felt that I could have been there, back in the late 1800's, out wandering by myself in the wide open prairie. The sky was so wide and blue, and it made you feel free. The people of the past have looked up at that same sky, and that is just amazing.