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The Coming Of Age Essay

1679 words - 7 pages

THE COMING OF AGE The novel My Antonia, is a novel that is full of stories, but the most central story is the one of Jim and Antonia and their growth from childhood to their adulthood. Each character follows a different path to adulthood, each with their own influences and obstacles. I will focus on Antonia and Jim's coming of age throughout the novel, My Antonia. Antonia's coming of age was more difficult than Jim's coming of age, and for more than just one reason. Antonia's family immigrated to the United States from Bohemia. When Antonia's family finally made it onto the shore of the United States, her family decided to continue moving until they reached Nebraska. ...view middle of the document...

The drive to succeed also showed up when she got jobs in town as a hired girl. Jim said, "I was thinking, as I watcher her, how little it mattered"”about her teeth, for instance. I know so many women who have kept all the things that she had lost, but whose inner glow has faded. Whatever else was gone, Antonia had not lost the fire of life" (My Antonia 250). She worked very hard to please her bosses, and the bosses grew to love her because of her hard work ethic.Antonia's father had a profound effect on her, but in an entirely different manner. He was a self made man who worked very hard and wanted nothing but the best for his family, but he also knew how to have fun. He went into the town every now and then to the bars, to festivals, or just to town to socialize. He had a free spirit, and just by reading how he acted, you could tell how his mood affected the rest of his family's attitude. Towards the end of his life, he became more and more melancholy, and the rest of the family members responded by also becoming more and more melancholy. When he died, he was missed so much that he was buried in his own graveyard. His influence on Antonia was the free spirit that he possessed. Antonia knew how to have fun all because of her father's teachings. She went to dance classes, and soon she was drawing all the men to dance with her from the town.The other family members had their own influences on how Antonia grew up. Antonia's older brother was much like his mom. He was an extremely hard worker. He was built like an ox, so he could work extremely hard, and he also was very stubborn. He didn't back away from anything, and he pushed everyone around him to work just as hard as he did. This also contributed to Antonia's desire to be a hard worker.The last member of Antonia's family was her other brother. Her other brother was crippled and demanded a lot of attention. His influence on Antonia was that he taught her about caring for other people. Antonia's behavior around children could be directly lined with how she treated her brother. Antonia, as you can see, has learned a great deal from her family members. They all helped shape her into what she was. From her father teachings of having fun to one of her brother's teachings of caring for others more than her self makes Antonia a very loved character in this novel, My Antonia.Besides Antonia's family she had two other influences on her. They were her education and her cultural upbringing. Antonia had a very limited education. The education that she did receive would have a huge effect on her adult life; however, the education that she did receive was received through Jim, who would be a life long friend to Antonia. Jim taught Antonia how to speak English and how to read English. These tools would prove to be most vital lessons in the future, because without this education, she would not be able to hold the jobs that she had in town. She also would not have met all of the people...

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