I am interested in studying the rifts created by inequalities. Especially in wake of the upcoming election, I am riveted by the ongoing national conversation about what does and does not constitute fairness or justice. Of further interest is what aspects of people’s lives inform their understanding of these abstract concepts. Willa Cather’s novel, My Ántonia, engages with these questions. As I read, I was struck by the divergent experiences of protagonist Jim Burden—a character whose gender, race, nationality, and socioeconomic class enables him to pursue an education—and neighboring immigrant farmers. When Mr. Eisenback presented the class with a critique launched by certain scholars that Cather had “no report to make to us on the America of her time,” I passionately disagreed. This essay is my attempt to articulate the value of Cather’s “report.”

ORLY LIPSET studies history and English literature in the College of Arts and Sciences. She would like to thank Mr. Eisenback alongside all of her other English teachers, her parents, and her dog.