As I sat down to my book at last, my old dream about Lena coming across the harvest-field in her short skirt seemed to me like the memory of an actual experience. If floated before me on the page like a picture, and underneath it stood the mournful line: "Optima dies...prima fugit."It reminds him of his childhood; the best days of his life so far. The entire novel is nostalgic for his past; Ántonia and growing up on the prairie. As he grows up, and moves away, his life changes drastically from his childhood. And his memories are all that remain. While this is true for many people, some, like Ántonia, remain where they grow up; their memories and present day in the same place. I have never been out west, or on a farm, yet as I was reading, I was immersed in visions of the prairie Cather's beautiful prose evokes the Nebraska landscape. Exemplifying this is a passage where Jim and Ántonia are watching the sunset.
-Page 174, My Ántonia
"On some upland farm, a plough had been left standing in the field. The sun was sinking just behind it. Magnified across the distance by the horizontal light, it stood out against the sun, was exactly contained within the circle of the disk; the handles, the tongue, the share—black against the molten red. There it was, heroic in size, a picture writing on the sun." -Page 156, My ÁntoniaWhile this is not on the Board of Modern Library's Choices list, is is on the Reader's list, cementing its status as a cornerstone of American literature. I highly recommend you to read it as soon as you get the chance. Rating: ★★★★★