My Antonia

The Fine Line Between Dreams and Memories: Comparing My Antonia and "Hands" College

Dreams are usually experienced when a person is sleeping, but idealizations and memories can turn into dreams as well. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between dreams and reality, especially when thinking of the past. People may mistake what they hoped to have happened as what has actually happened, or the past can come back in a haunting way. Willa Cather’s novel My Antonia explores the idea of the past carrying both nostalgic and dream-like qualities, while Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio presents dreams and dreaming in a whole other abstract and complex way. However dreams and memories are portrayed, they strongly affect the characters in each of these stories.

My Antonia is a highly nostalgic narrative that recounts Jim Burden’s memory of life on the prairie and his dear friend Antonia. The introduction of this piece details a train conversation between Jim Burden and the “narrator” of the story. As it is suggested by Jim that the mystery narrator should write a story about Antonia, it was decided that “[he/she] would set down on paper all that [he/she] remembered about Antonia if he would do the same. [They] might, in this way, get a picture of her.” (49). This introduction already suggests the fact that the story...

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