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Willa Cathers Feminist Tendencies Willa Cather tends to portray static characters with little depth yet she seems to approach her female characters with an air of liberalism that allows for a more well-rounded exploration of society than is found in the works of other conteporary authors Cather depicts women as both the classic mother woman and the independent individual Allowing her to free the female character from heir reliance on men Her women are not just mothers daughters or wives they are characters of their own -- able to grow and explore A flare is given to Cathers pioneer stories by the dynamics of some of her female characters The independent women in Cathers tales expand the window through which their society is judged while the mother-woman frame of that window is solidified through the traditional values that they represent In My Antonia Cather explores the diversity of the female race through two generations of women Cather further elaborates on the duality of the womans role of society in Sapphira and the Slave Girl Mrs Burden the first woman introduced in My Antonia represents the traditional values of society Her description is that of a bird she was apt to carry her head thrust forward in an attitude of attention she was quick footed and energetic in all her movements and her voice was high and rather shrill Mrs Burden is in a constant flight about her home She is an obedient wife and a mother-woman She is a homemaker a teacher to Antonia the woman of the farm and the greatest help to her neighbors Cather uses Mrs Burden to extol the values of the vaguely known townspeople She respects the Christian ideals of her small Mid-Western town and is nonjudgmental She is pure of heart and soul as she accepts the actions and choices of those to whom she hopes to set an example Mrs Burden is the foundation
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