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Willa Cather tends to portray static characters with little depth yet she seems toapproach her female characters with an air of liberalism that allows for a morewell-rounded exploration of society than is found in the works of other conteporaryauthors Cather depicts women as both the classic mother woman and the independentindividual Allowing her to free the female character from heir reliance on men Herwomen are not just mothers daughters or wives they are characters of their own -- ableto grow and explore A flare is given to Cathers pioneer stories by the dynamics of someof her female characters The independent women in Cathers tales expand the windowthrough which their society is judged while the mother-woman frame of that window issolidified through the traditional values that they represent In My Antonia Catherexplores the diversity of the female race through two generations of women Catherfurther elaborates on the duality of the womans role of society in Sapphira and the SlaveMrs Burden the first woman introduced in My Antonia represents the traditionalvalues of society Her description is that of a bird she was apt to carry her head thrustforward in an attitude of attention she was quick footed and energetic in all hermovements and her voice was high and rather shrill Mrs Burden is in a constant flightabout her home She is an obedient wife and a mother-woman She is a homemaker ateacher to Antonia the woman of the farm and the greatest help to her neighbors Catheruses Mrs Burden to extol the values of the vaguely known townspeople She respects theChristian ideals of her small Mid-Western town and is nonjudgmental She is pure of heartand soul as she accepts the actions and choices of those to whom she hopes to set anexample Mrs Burden is the foundation of society and a foil to the independent girls ofAntonia is one of Cathers few dynamic characters She explores all the possibleoptions for her life before becoming the mother-woman As
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