Literary Devices in My Ántonia
The Introduction and the Novel’s Perspective: The introduction sets up a frame story for the novel and informs readers that the story is a retrospective written by Jim, chronicling his life and relationship with Antonia. It features a conversation between Jim and an unnamed woman he knew as a child as they reflect on their youth in the West. The rest of the novel is presented as a manuscript written by Jim based on these reflections, but the introduction is narrated by the unnamed woman, who is most likely a fictitious stand-in for Cather. The frame story serves to centralize Antonia as both a character and a symbol by making explicit her role as the inspiration for the story. The narrator from the introduction and Jim both view Antonia as representative of their childhood adventures and the spirit of the West. She is a figure that they look back on with fondness on both a personal level and a nostalgic one. By providing a frame of reference for Jim’s life and motivation for telling this story, Cather allows readers to gain a greater understanding of the narrative voice throughout the rest of the novel and helps contextualize Antonia’s importance to Jim’s development.