Presentation on theme: "My Àntonia By Willa Cather. Aim: How is Willa Cather’s writing style different from other authors? Do Now: Identify as many DIDLS(S) as you can from the."— Presentation transcript:
My Àntonia By Willa Cather
Aim: How is Willa Cather’s writing style different from other authors? Do Now: Identify as many DIDLS(S) as you can from the following passage: “How well I remember the stiff little parlor where I used to wait for Lena: the hard horsehair furniture, bought at some auction sale, the long mirror, the fashion plates on the wall. If I sat down even for a moment, I was sure to find threads and bits of coloured silk clinging to my clothes after I went away…Lena’s success puzzled me. She was so easy-going, had none of the push and self assertiveness that get people ahead in business.” P.155
Detail “The wagon jolted on, carrying me I knew not whither. I don’t think I was homesick. If we never arrived anywhere, it did not matter. Between the earth and that sky I felt erased, blotted out. I did not say my prayers that night: here, I felt, what would be would be.” P.5
Detail Continued… This is our first interpretation of how Jim is viewing the new life he is about to come into. From what we know his relationship with his parents is not as strong as the one he will come to have with his grandparents, because his parents died when he was at a very young age. It seems from the beginning lines that he feels almost hopeless and doesn’t understand his place in the world yet. It is not until he meets Antonia and essentially finds himself that he will realize what an impact these people will have on his life for years to come. The facts that are included are meant to show how his character comes from more of a state of confusion to being secure in his life. By stating that he feels “erased” and “blotted out” this serves to explain that his future is somewhat out of his hands and he is relying on his grandparents and the life they’re providing for him to keep him going. Similarly, the facts that are omitted are just as important. We are not given any information as to the death of Jim’s parents or his feelings on the matter, we are only really told of his life on the countryside. This shows us the author’s perspective because she implies that everything prior to his arrival on the farm was not influential to his character development.
Images “She was a spare, tall woman, a little stooped, and she was apt to carry her head thrust forward in an attitude, as if she were looking at something, or listening to something, far away… Her laugh, too, was high, and perhaps a little strident, but there was a lively intelligence in it. She was ten fifty-five years old, a strong woman, of unusual endurance.”
Images continued… Images as symbols: Willa Cather used the frontier and the character’s surroundings to symbolize their current feelings. For example, when it was gloomy outside or if crops weren’t growing, the characters would tend to be more upset than usual. Cather also used the five senses to get her point across and also to really make the reader feel like they were there. She described the characters and landscapes especially with a moving and poetic tone of voice.
Diction “She was thinner than I had ever seen her, and looked as if Mrs.Steavens said, “worked down,” but there was a new kind of strength in the gravity of her face, and her colour still gave her that look of deep-seated health and ardour. Still? Why, it flashed across me that though so much had happened in her life and in mine, she was barely twenty-four years old.” P.177
Diction Continued… A. Polysyllabic - Her choice of words are not bland and offer the reader different means of interpretation, as opposed to monosyllabic, which would have a much more simple sound. B. Both formal and informal - The passage is informal once the narrator somewhat talks at the reader by saying “still?” and leaving the more formal description of Antonia at the beginning. It has a more formal tone by describing her as having strength in her face and a look of health and ardour. C. Connotative - The type of language Cather uses is not always concrete, but can be more up to our interpretation. Instead of saying that she was simply getting older she prefers to say “the gravity of her face”, showing that her use of language is continually more suggestible as opposed to exact. D. Euphonious - Cather’s style is typically seen as pleasant and beautiful sounding, putting a lot of emphasis on nature scenes a descriptions of country sides and the farming areas that these character’s come from. It is evident that she truly has a love for the country side and prefers this lifestyle because she always talks of it with positive connotations.
Language "I whirled round, and there on one of those dry gravel beds, was the biggest snake I had ever seen. He was sunning himself, after the cold night, and he must have been asleep when Antonia screamed. When I turned, he was lying in those loose waves, like a letter 'W'. He twitched and began to coil slowly. He was not merely a big snake, I though – he was a circus monstrosity. His abominable muscularity, his loathsome, fluid motion, somehow made me sick. He was as thick as my leg, and looked as if millstones couldn't crush its disgusting vitality out of him. He lifted his hideous little head, and rattled."
Language continued… The language Willa Cather uses makes us feel as if we see the snake and how big and disgusting it is. It makes us fear but want to face him at the same time like she did. The language she uses makes us feel things that she intends for us to feel. The passage symbolizes nature and the way it relates to the rest of the story. It also shows a change in character. It shows the work they have to do on the farm and the accomplishments they achieve. These new accomplishments show the appreciation that Antonia has for having Jim in her life.
Syntax "Certainly Cutter liked to have his wife think him a devil. In some way he depended upon the excitement he could arouse in her hysterical nature. Perhaps he got the feeling of being a rake more from his wife's rage and amazement than from any experiences of his own. His zest in debauchery might wane, but never Mrs. Cutter's belief in it. The reckoning with his wife at the end of an escapade was something he counted on – like the last powerful liqueur after a long dinner. The one excitement he really couldn't do without was quarreling with Mrs. Cutter!"
Syntax continued… The sentences that are used in this passage are long and detailed. Each sentence describes the character or action using adjectives and nouns. Most sentences in the book are long. This represents the complexity of each character. None of the characters are short and to the point. Willa Cather says “His zest in debauchery might wane, but never Mrs. Cutter's belief in it.” The way she describes Mr. Cutter shows what kind of character he is.
Shifts "'Stop going to the tent?' she panted. 'I wouldn't think of it for a minute! My own father couldn't make me stop! Mr. Harling ain't my boss outside my work. I won't give up my friends either. The boys I go with are nice fellows. I thought Mr. Paine was all right too, because he used to come here. I guess I gave him a red face for his wedding, all right!' she blazed out indignantly. 'You'll have to do one thing or the other, Antonia,' Mrs. Harling told her decidedly. 'I can't go back on what Mr. Harling has said. This is his house. Then I'll just leave, Mrs. Harling. Lena's been wanting me to get a place closer to her for a long while. Mary Svoboda's going away from the Cutters' to work at the hotel, and I can have her place."
Shifts continued This passage shows how Willa Cather uses different punctuation in the different dialogues. She put exclamation marks to show excitement or anger in the characters’ voices. There’s structure and changes in sound and diction.
Willa Cather Willa Cather was born on a farm in Back Creek Valley, Winchester, V.A. Born in 1873, she was the first of six children and in 1883, they all moved to Nebraska. Enrolled in University of Nebraska- Lincoln, Cather as a regular contributor to the Nebraska State Journal. Eventually she moved to Pittsburgh where she worked as a school teacher. She then moved to New York City after receiving a job off from McClure’s Magazine who then serialized her first novel Alexander’s Bridge. Most of Cather’s works were based on the frontier life and wrote in a very simple, plain spoken language.