Existential Absurdity and Disillusionment: Exploration of Traumatic Experiences of the Pioneers in Willa Cather’s My Antonio
Keywords:Confrontation, Nihilism, Existentialism, Transformation, Jazz, Flappers, Mobility, Immigration, Absurdity
The present research paper entitled: “Existential Absurdity and Disillusionment, Exploration of Traumatic Experiences of the Pioneers in Willa Cather’s My Antonia” explores the existential vision of Willa Cather who documented the confrontation of her protagonists against the forces of nihilism and existentialism prevailing in Nebraska. Cather’s My Antonia (1938), evokes nostalgia for America’s past. The plot of the novel is packed with the episodes of existential absurdity and anxiety of the pioneers. Martin Esslin defines absurdity thus: “Absurd is that which is devoid of purpose. ... Cut off from his religious, metaphysical, and transcendental rootsâ€¦” (Esslin, The Theatre of the Absurd 20). The pioneers of Willa Cather are alienated from society; they experience pain and feel tormented. The novel focuses on the narrative of Jim’s memories of Antonia and the depressed life of the immigrants. The transformation trends in America brought new challenges for the pioneers with the growth of the money culture and the emergence of Jazz and flappers. “And there was so much motion in it; the whole country seemed, somehow, to be running” (42). This race for upward mobility is pitted against stillness and isolation.
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