Themes in My Antonia
“We sat looking off across the country, watching the sun go down. The curly grass about us was on fire now. The bark of the oaks turned red as copper.
There was a shimmer of gold on the brown river. Out in the stream the sandbars glittered like glass, and the light trembled in the willow thickets as if little flames were leaping among them. The breeze sank to stillness. In the ravine a ringdove mourned plaintively, and somewhere off in the bushes an owl hooted. The girls sat listless, leaning against each other.
The long fingers of the sun touched their foreheads. ” (Page 159) My Antonia is one of my favorite books because of how it is so descriptive. I love the visuals that Cather adds like when she says “the bark of the oaks turned red as copper,” because you think of that rustic color and how that is what the bark looks likes because of the sunset. Cather uses similes like, “Out in the stream the sandbars glittered like glass, and the light trembled in the willow thickets as if little flames were leaping among them. You can really imagine glittering glass, mostly from experience, and how the little mirrors cast precious twinkles of light on water, and the little flames jumping around the thickets casting a brilliant light on them and going out as soon as they’ve touched them. Cather also uses a metaphor when describing the curly grass by saying that it was on fire, which is a great description of how the light from the sunset affected the grass, making it look ablaze.
She uses another metaphor when describing the light from the sun, and calls it “fingers” which touched the girls’ foreheads because the rays were long and were as if they were caressing their faces like a hand might do in a loving gesture. You can just see the last bits of light the sun gives off reaching out to grasp and influence the last part of the Earth that it can before it has to disappear into the night sky.