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ERIC Number: EJ864799
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0275-7664
Jim, Antonia, and the Wolves: Displacement in Cather's "My Antonia"
Cohen, Robin
Great Plains Quarterly, v29 n1 p51-60 Win 2009
In one of the most frequently noted incidents in Willa Cather's "My Antonia", Russian immigrant Pavel reveals on his deathbed that, when driving his friend's wedding party sledge, he saved his own life and companion Peter's by throwing the bride and groom to the attacking wolves. Antonia and Jim are fascinated by this story, and readers are haunted and intrigued by it. The tale holds the obvious appeal (both for the children and Cather's reader) of the drama of the incident, the color of its remote foreign setting, and the morbid satisfaction of learning the mysterious past of the Russian neighbors. But beyond these appeals, the story also resonates with important motifs, such as gender politics, marriage, and movement that are woven throughout the novel. It sheds light on Cather's sources and inspirations as well as on the nature of the Great Plains immigrant population. At the same time, it transcends regional concerns, addressing mythic themes that recur across cultural boundaries. Thus, though frequently noted, this incident supports further exploration.
Center for Great Plains Studies. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1155 Q Street, Hewit Place, P.O. Box 880214, Lincoln, NE 68588-0214. Tel: 402-472-3082; Fax: 402-472-0463; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A