My Ántonia's main theme revolves around mankind, and his comparison to nature. Man commonly sees himself as the supreme being, shining above the rest. Willa Cather demonstrates the flaw in this outlook near the end of book two of My Ántonia.
"On some upland farm, a plow had been left standing in the field. The sun was sinking just behind it. Magnified across the distance by the horizontal light, it stood out against the sun, and was exactly contained within the circle of the disk; the handles, the tongue, the share—black against the molten red. There it was, heroic in size, a picture writing on the sun.”
The plow represents man and his self glorification.It shows his high esteem of himself and his accomplishments. The passage goes on to read:
"Even while we whispered about it, our vision disappeared; the ball dropped and dropped until the red tip went beneath the earth. The fields below us were dark, the sky was growing pale, and that forgotten plow had sunk back to its own littleness somewhere on the prairie."
The sun dropping below the horizon, leaving the plow an insignificant spec on the great hills, symbolizes the reality of man's position in the universe. Cather uses this to aid her message of humankind's false illustriousness.