The American Dream has never had an exact definition, and thus the novel My Antonia proves the fact. Not all of the main characters have the same goal , but many of their goals revolve around a few concepts.
An American dream is success. Not necessarily being excessively rich, but enough so that starvation and poverty are not a factor in the day-to-day basis. Also, happiness and stability. Many of us want a nice home, and children; basically, the concept of independence. In Antonia’s case, it is clear that she wanted a home of her own and to run her own household. In the novel it states that “ Antonia loved to help grandmother in the kitchen and to learn about cooking and housekeeping. She would stand beside her, watching her every movement (p.22).” This is a manner that Cather uses to show that Antonia was training to run her own household. Antonia would not only watch, but learn from experience, while she helped grandmother. There are also other instances in the novel where different portrayals of the American dream take place.
One of the instances where a different portrayal of the American dream takes place is when the description of how Mr. Shimerda looked dead was given. He was described as being “ Just as stiff as a dressed turkey you hang out to freeze (p.67).” This gives a general statement, that includes how most people think of dying. No one really wants to go through much pain, so we all want to die a natural death, most likely one in our sleep.
Many of the immigrants who come to the United states have the general want for their own land and the want for a better familial situation. For example, Cather shows Mama’s pursuit for a better life for her children when Antonia states that “ For Ambrosch, my Mama come here (p.59), ” and also a better education for her children.
The American Dream has and will continue to usually revolved around improving the condition of one’s current status and prospering in a new place where, in turn, it is like being given a second chance.