Monday, October 23, 2017

My Antonia

Just finished Willa Cather's My Antonia. It is a book I liked but did not give total satisfaction, if that is the right sentiment. Certainly it was not all satisfying in the way a popular novel is. The ending is happy, but there is some melancholy - things that should or could have been different, the fact of mistakes made even by good people,, but a resilient spirit can overcome?
Is the difference between literature and the majority of novels not just the quality of writing, but that literature captures life as it is with all the bumps and bruises and sometimes the regrets and not just an adventure with a happy ending?
One line caught me towards the end. The narrator asks:
I wondered whether the life that was right for one is ever right for two!
While my answer to this is in the affirmative, not everyone always experiences this, either due to chance or choice. 
But more, the line reminded me of a thought of Dietrich von Hildebrand about marriage itself, and not the more material life. I paraphrase the thought below, which is a paraphrase from my own blog entry of 2005 - so it possible it is a little distorted from the actual writing of DVB as I don't have his text with me.
Dietrich Von Hildebrand says in his book Marriage – the mystery of faithful love (Sophia Institute Press) that all marriages have the purpose of attaining the highest possible communion or mutual love possible between the spouses. Some marriages in particular are truly made in Heaven and have the potential of being a true living example to the world of Christ’s spousal love. In the other extreme, one spouse must forego receiving the love of their spouse and must spend their life “primarily in sacrifice and renunciation, in care for the salvation of the other” – who is not participating in the love of the marriage. Thus the purpose of every spouse in every marriage, no matter the nature of their particular marriage, will not be realized until that spouse truly lives in a spirit of sacrifice - fully embracing his vocation.
By the way, if you want a really good analysis (as opposed to mine) of a classic novel (not this one) you should venture here to read about the correlation between sin and death as portrayed in Crime and Punishment.
Oremus pro invicem!


Theresa Curley said...

I agree with what you said about "My Antonia" being an enjoyable, but not quite satisfactory read. If you have the inclination, "O Pioneers!" by Willa Cather is really good, but is even more bittersweet at the end. I think it's also an easier read than "My Antonia". Love you!!


Anonymous said...

I am taking "O Pioneers" on my upcoming trip West....

Thanks Theresa!

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