Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes
1) Examine one scene in which Cather describes the Nebraska prairie quite vividly. What is her main method of representing the land, e.g. comparison, personification, romanticization, realism?
2) Trace the changes in Antonia. What is different and what is the same about the Antonia of the end and the Antonia of the beginning of the novel?
3) Trace the development of Jim as he matures in the novel from boyhood to manhood.
4) Examine the independent women figures in the novel such as Frances Harling, Tony Soderball, and Lena Lingard. How do they manage to be independent despite social constraints on women?
5) Who are the father figures in Jimís life? How do they function in giving Jim a sense of himself as a boy and man?
6) Contrast Mrs. Burden, Jimís grandmother, and Mrs. Shimerda, Antoniaís mother. Are there any similarities in the two women?
7) Analyze the instances in the novel when social codes are violated, e.g. when Ole Benson lifts Lena Lingard onto her horse, when Antonia comes back home pregnant, or when Mr. Cutter attempts to rape Antonia. Where does the novel locate its values-- in the violation of confining social codes or in their enforcement?
8) Find the episodes of suicide in the novel and examine their function in the fictional world of the Nebraska territory and its colonization.
9) What are some of the images of the old world in the novel? How realistically is Europe represented?
10) Analyze the description of the working women in the novel-- the "hired girls." Contrast the differences between their romantic portraits and their realistic portraits.