Read an in-depth analysis of Jim Burden.
Read an in-depth analysis of Ántonia Shimerda.
Read an in-depth analysis of Lena Lingard.
Josiah Burden - Jim’s grandfather. Josiah is a strongly religious man, silent and given to hard work.
Emmaline Burden - Jim’s grandmother. Emmaline shows great concern and compassion for the Shimerdas and is a loving maternal figure for Jim.
Otto Fuchs - The Burdens’ hired hand, who looks like a cowboy out of one of Jim’s books but is actually an Austrian immigrant. Good-natured despite his rough appearance, Otto decides to seek his fortune in the West after the Burdens move to Black Hawk.
Mr. Shimerda - The patriarch of the Bohemian immigrant family. A melancholy man given to artistic and scholarly pursuits, Mr. Shimerda feels very much out of place in foreign land. His depression eventually leads to suicide, leaving his family members to pick up the pieces and struggle to make a living on their own.
Mrs. Shimerda - The matriarch of the Bohemian immigrant family. Mrs. Shimerda is a brusque, bossy, and often curt woman. After the suicide of her husband, she is forced to make do with the little that she has in an attempt to provide for her family.
Yulka Shimerda - The youngest of the Shimerda children. Yulka is a pretty, young girl who later helps Ántonia raise her baby.
Ambrosch Shimerda - The Shimerdas’ oldest son. Mrs. Shimerda and her daughters dote on Ambrosch, claiming that he is brilliant and the reason they came to America. Ambrosch shares his mother’s curt and presumptuous attitude, but becomes the unquestioned head of the family after Mr. Shimerda’s suicide.
Marek Shimerda - The younger of the two Shimerda brothers. Marek’s physical deformities are accompanied by a handful of psychological instabilities and mental deficiencies.
Tiny Soderball - One of the hired girls in Black Hawk and a friend to Ántonia and Lena. After working with Mrs. Gardener in the Boys’ Home, Tiny travels west and makes a small fortune during the Alaskan gold rush.
Russian Pavel - Tall, gaunt, and nervous, Pavel is an immigrant who falls ill under the care of the Shimerdas. He had been ostracized and forced to leave his native Russia after a frightful incident involving a wolf attack on a wedding party.
Russian Peter - Pavel’s housemate, and a fat, happy man. Like Pavel, Peter was forced into exile from his native Russia following a wolf attack on a wedding party. Peter eventually finds himself severely in debt and sells off his belongings, leaving America for a job as a cook in a Russian labor camp.
Mr. Harling - The patriarch of the Harling family, neighbors to the Burdens in Black Hawk. A businessman of keen ability, Mr. Harling disapproves of Ántonia’s frequent carousals at the dancing pavilion and eventually forces her to leave her post as their housekeeper because of her lifestyle.
Mrs. Harling - The matriarch of the Harling family, and a charismatic and active woman. Mrs. Harling develops a strong affection for Ántonia, and she provides myriad activities for her children, Ántonia, and Jim, to take part in.
Frances Harling - The oldest of the Harling children. Frances has a sound business mind and manages her father’s accounts with a great deal of skill.
Charley Harling - The only Harling son. Charley is of a military persuasion and eventually goes on to a successful career at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Julia Harling - The middle Harling daughter. Julia is Jim’s age and has a penchant for music.
Sally Harling - The youngest Harling daughter, and something of a tomboy.
Larry Donovan - Ántonia’s fiancé, and an arrogant and selfish young man. After being fired from his job as a railroad conductor, Donovan leaves Ántonia on the eve of their wedding, running away to Mexico in search of a quick fortune.
Mrs. Gardener - The proprietress of the Boys’ Home in Black Hawk.
Samson d’Arnault - A blind, black pianist. D’Arnault comes to Black Hawk on a blustery March weekend and gives a concert at the Boys’ Home that brings down the house.
Wick Cutter - The leading moneylender in Black Hawk and a shady character.
Gaston Cleric - Jim’s tutor at the university in Lincoln. Cleric eventually moves on to a teaching position at Harvard University and brings Jim along with him. His premature death from pneumonia has a strong effect on Jim.
Widow Steavens - The Burdens’ tenant at their old farmhouse. Widow Steavens develops a close relationship with Ántonia in the time surrounding the breaking of Ántonia’s engagement.
Anton Jelinek - A Bohemian homesteader and friend of the Shimerdas who later moves to Black Hawk and becomes a saloon proprietor.
Peter Krajiek - A Bohemian immigrant and neighbor to the Burdens who sells the Shimerdas their first farm in America and cheats them out of several comforts.
Cuzak - A Bohemian immigrant to America who marries Ántonia and raises a large family with her.
My Antonia Essay: The Character of Lena Lingard
1787 Words8 Pages
The Character of Lena Lingard in My Antonia
Lena Lingard is the best example of a non-domestic central character which appears amidst the domesticity of My Ántonia. Often the sections which feature Lena instead of Ántonia are seen as confusing divergences from the plot line of a novel that purports to be about the woman named in the title. However, since Lena appears in the novel almost as often as Ántonia, and more often than any other character except Jim, she is a central character. Lena is a working woman who refuses to accept the constraints society places upon her. Even when society predicts that by becoming a dressmaker instead of marrying she will fail and become a "loose" woman, she disrupts their expectations…show more content…
After Lena leaves the Harling place, we hear the town's opinion of Lena, based on the rumors which surround Ole Benson's infatuation with Lena. The story is very pastoral, Lena is described as a barely dressed and beautiful "something wild, that always lived on the prairie . . . yellow hair burned to a ruddy thatch on her head . . . [with skin that] kept a miraculous whiteness which somehow made her seen more undressed than other girls" (Cather 106). The town accuses her of "making Ole Benson lose the little sense he had" (107). In other words, the married adult man who is really the one who should know better than to run around chasing a young girl is tempted by the "dangerously seductive" Lena.
Lena can be interpreted from the beginning of our acquaintance with her as a softly erotic beauty who enchants. Even Jim seems convinced of her dangerous seductiveness and in the dream sequence Jim has featuring Lena, she is "a surreal image of Aurora and Grim Reaper as one . . . the archetypal landscape of ballad, myth, and drama, setting for la belle dame sans merci who enchants and satisfies, but then lulls and destroys" (Gelfant 105). But Lena never deliberately participates in or encourages this enchantment, it is the men who follow her and become obsessed of their own will. As Lena puts it when Mrs.