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My Ántonia

My Ántonia Summary


Here you will find a My Ántonia summary (Willa Cather's book).
We begin with a summary of the entire book, and then you can read each individual chapter's summary by visiting the links on the "Chapters" section.

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Last Updated: Monday 1 Jan, 2024

My Ántonia Summary Overview

A prosperous lawyer based in New York City shares a memoir of his rustic Nebraska childhood, the central theme of which is his bond with a girl named Ántonia Shimerda, an immigrant from Bohemia. They meet during Jim's journey west to live with his grandparents, following the death of his parents. The Shimerdas are settling in as farmers on an adjacent farm, and Jim quickly befriends the children, particularly Ántonia, who is around his same age and eager to learn English. However, their bond is tested after the sudden suicide of Mr. Shimerda which plunges the family into a profound despair. A few years later, Jim's family moves into town, and soon after, Ántonia takes up a job as a housekeeper with a local family, the Harlings. This move rekindles their friendship as they start to spend more time together again, particularly after a dance hall opens up in town. Jim's high school days end, and he is admitted to the university in Lincoln. He excels in his academic pursuits but also becomes infatuated with Lena Lingard, a mutual acquaintance. Meanwhile, Ántonia becomes engaged to a local boy and relocates to Denver to be with him, but he abandons her on the eve of their wedding. She returns to Nebraska, heartbroken and pregnant, and despite the disapproval of her family, decides to keep the baby and continues to work on the farm with her brother. Two decades pass before Jim visits Ántonia again. During this time, he has established himself as a renowned lawyer in New York City, while Ántonia marries Cuzak, a man of Bohemian origin, and they have many children. Jim's visit to the Cuzak farm is filled with joy, laughter, and reminiscing. As he prepares to return to New York, he walks along the outskirts of the town, near the path that leads to his childhood home. Feeling a sense of completion, he reflects on his past with Ántonia and the richness it has added to his life. He decides to maintain a closer relationship with the Cuzak family in the future.


The story begins with an anonymous storyteller recounting a previous summer's train journey through Iowa with his old friend, Jim Burden. Both grew up in a small town in Nebraska and had a lengthy chat about their prairie childhood during the trip. Despite residing in New York, they rarely see each other due to Jim's frequent business trips and the narrator's dislike for Jim's wife. Throughout their journey, their conversations often circled back to a girl named Ántonia, who the narrator had lost contact with, but Jim had reconnected. Jim had mentioned his intentions to document his memories of Ántonia, a prospect that intrigued the narrator. A few months later, Jim arrived in New York with a collection of writings about Ántonia, displaying them to the narrator. The narrator notes that Jim marked the portfolio with the title “Ántonia”, but after some thought, added “My” before her name.

book 1 chapter 1

Ten-year-old Jim, recently orphaned, is journeying west from Virginia to his grandparents' home in Black Hawk, Nebraska, accompanied by farmhand Jake Marpole. On their way past Chicago, a conductor tells Jim about a Bohemian immigrant family, the Shimerdas, traveling to the same destination. Among them, only a girl of Jim's age named Ántonia speaks English. Upon arrival in Black Hawk, Jim and Jake are met by Otto Fuchs, a worker from the Burden family. Jim watches as the Shimerdas prepare to depart. The vastness of the night-shrouded Nebraska landscape engulfs Jim as he rides in the rattling wagon. Ultimately, he dozes off on a straw bed as the wagon continues its journey into the darkness.

book 1 chapter 2

Following day at the homestead, Jim is awakened and bathed by his grandma, Mrs. Burden. Afterward, he takes in his new environment as his grandma readies dinner. Over the meal, Jake talks about Virginia with the Burdens. Otto entertains Jim with tales about ponies and cattle in the later part of the evening, which ends with family prayers. As dawn breaks, Jim starts exploring the farm's landscape. He later joins Mrs. Burden in the garden to gather potatoes for dinner, and remains seated alone amidst the pumpkins after she leaves.

book 1 chapter 3

The Burdens set off on a Sunday journey to visit their new Bohemian neighbors, the Shimerdas. During the ride, it's revealed the Shimerdas were cheated when buying their farmhouse, ill-prepared for Nebraska's bitter winters. On arrival, Mrs. Shimerda and the Burdens exchange pleasantries. Mrs. Burden hands over some bread loaves as a gift. While the adults engage in conversation, Jim and Ántonia sneak away to frolic, with Yulka, Ántonia's little sister, tagging along. Jim imparts some English vocabulary to Ántonia during their escapade. As the Burdens ready themselves to leave, Mr. Shimerda earnestly asks Mrs. Burden to instruct Ántonia in English.

book 1 chapter 4

Jim embarks on his inaugural lengthy pony ride later that day. He recollects Otto's tale about how the sunflowers that carpet the plains are the result of Mormons dispersing seeds during their Utah-bound journey. Twice-weekly, Jim commutes to the post office and he details numerous other outings he undertakes just to saunter or observe the indigenous animals, at times joined by Ántonia. He starts to tutor Ántonia in English regularly, and she relishes assisting Mrs. Burden with household tasks.

book 1 chapter 5

During a late fall afternoon, Ántonia introduces Jim to some Russian immigrants her family is close with. They only find Peter at home who shows them his dairy cow and treats them to melons. He also amuses them with various harmonica melodies. As they depart, Peter gifts Ántonia a bag of cucumbers for her mom and a can of milk to prepare them with.

book 1 chapter 6

During another autumn afternoon, close to dusk, Ántonia and Jim cross paths with Mr. Shimerda, who has successfully hunted down three rabbits. The animals' meat will feed the family and their fur will be used to make a warm hat for Ántonia in the cold season. Mr. Shimerda assures that he will pass on his firearm to Jim when the latter is grown-up. Jim notices a sadness in Mr. Shimerda's demeanor, which leaves a lasting influence on him. After the light of day begins to diminish, the Shimerdas head back to their homestead while Jim playfully competes with his own shadow as he hastens home.

book 1 chapter 7

During a trip to Peter's house to fetch a spade for Ántonia's elder sibling Ambrosch, Jim and Ántonia make a halt to investigate some prairie-dog holes. In the midst of this, Ántonia sees a gigantic snake, shrieks, and summons Jim in her native language, Bohemian. Alerted, Jim takes in the sight of the massive snake, collects himself, and swiftly kills it using the spade. Even though Jim initially scolds Ántonia for her Bohemian warning instead of English, her admiration of his courage soon appeases him. They decide to ferry the deceased snake back home as a symbol of Jim's triumph. The snake's magnitude astonishes the older folks, and Ántonia takes great joy in recounting the event to all those curious.

book 1 chapter 8

The Russian immigrants, Peter and Pavel, face a difficult period. Peter has acquired substantial debts owed to Black Hawk's Wick Cutter, while Pavel sustains a severe injury from a fall. Peter visits the Burdens’ household to seek help from the Shimerdas, who happen to be there. Jim joins Ántonia and her father on a visit to the Russians' homestead. There they find an incapacitated Pavel obsessed with wolves during his illness. Ántonia reveals the story behind this obsession on the journey back: back in Russia, the two had been part of a winter wedding procession that was ambushed by wolves on their way back. Everyone perished except Pavel and Peter, who were steering the sleigh carrying the newlyweds. In a desperate attempt to escape, Pavel had thrown the couple to the wolves. This act of desperation forced Pavel and Peter to leave their home and eventually Russia itself. The chilling memory haunts both men. Pavel passes away just days after Ántonia and Jim's visit. Peter then disposes of all his possessions and departs from America. This results in Mr. Shimerda losing two of his only acquaintances in the new land. The haunting tale continues to grip Ántonia and Jim long after Pavel's demise.

book 1 chapter 9

Upon the arrival of the inaugural snow, Otto Fuchs constructs a sled for Jim's use. Following an initial trial, Jim embarks on a journey to offer Ántonia and Yulka a sleigh ride. The sisters are ill-equipped for the frosty climate, prompting Jim to share his attire to assist in their insulation. Consequently, he becomes susceptible to the frigid temperatures, leading to a two-week confinement in bed due to quinsy, a serious condition affecting the tonsils.

book 1 chapter 10

During a visit to the Shimerdas, initiated by Mrs. Burden's decision to offer them a rooster and some food, Jim spots Ántonia at the water pump. She quickly retreats to the house. A tearful Mrs. Shimerda greets the Burdens, revealing their scarce and spoiling food supplies for the winter. Mrs. Shimerda is further distressed when Jake presents the gift basket of food. Mr. Shimerda mentions their previous life in Bohemia, where they weren't beggars, but circumstances in America have led to their poverty. Mrs. Burden comforts the Shimerdas while Jim amuses himself with Yulka’s kitten. As they prepare to leave, Mrs. Shimerda reciprocates with a small food parcel for Mrs. Burden. Jake and Mrs. Burden contemplate the Shimerdas’ unfortunate situation on their journey home. Mrs. Burden later throws away the food gift, but Jim, intrigued, decides to taste a small piece.

book 1 chapter 11

In the week leading up to Christmas, Jake is to handle the Burdens' Christmas shopping. However, a severe snowstorm starts, prompting Mr. Burden to deem the roads unsafe for travel. As a result, the family turns to creating their own Christmas gifts. Jim crafts two picture books as gifts for Ántonia and Yulka, while Mrs. Burden bakes gingerbread cookies. After presenting a gift to the Shimerdas, Jake returns with a small cedar tree. The Burdens spend Christmas Eve decorating this tree.

book 1 chapter 12

During the festive celebrations of Christmas Day, Mr. Burden guides his family in a moment of prayer. They then enjoy a hearty breakfast of delicious waffles and sausages. Jake shares that the Shimerdas were thrilled about the presents they got from the Burdens. Later in the day, Mr. Shimerda comes over to express his gratitude for the Burdens' generous actions. They insist him to join them for the evening meal, and he ends up spending a significant amount of time there, only leaving when it's quite late.

book 1 chapter 13

As the New Year arrives, snow melts into muddy slush. During a visit to the Burdens by Mrs. Shimerda and Ántonia, a heated debate erupts between Jim and Ántonia regarding the Shimerdas' circumstances and perspective. The weather remains moderate until the end of January. On the day Jim turns eleven, a severe blizzard envelops the rural landscape, causing farm work to come to a complete standstill.

book 1 chapter 14

The day after the blizzard begins, Jim is awoken by a loud noise. He discovers, upon entering the kitchen, that his grandfather is sharing the news of Mr. Shimerda's death. As they gather around the breakfast table, they quietly discuss the speculated suicide with Ambrosch Shimerda in earshot. Jake recounts Krajiek’s odd conduct around the corpse and how Krajiek’s axe matches Mr. Shimerda’s injury. However, Otto Fuchs and Mrs. Burden persuade him to abandon his suspicions. After breakfast, Otto goes to call the priest and the coroner from Black Hawk, while the rest begin to clear the path for their journey to the Shimerdas. Jim, left behind, spends the day reflecting on Mr. Shimerda's passing after doing some tasks. When the wagon pulls in at dusk, Jake narrates to Jim what he saw at the Shimerdas’.

book 1 chapter 15

Otto comes back from Black Hawk, bringing along a young Bohemian, Anton Jelinek. Over dinner, Jelinek expresses his sadness over the absence of a priest for Mr. Shimerda's funeral rites. Post meal, he begins to make a path to the Shimerdas’ home that is wide enough for a wagon. Meanwhile, Otto starts building a coffin. Later, several locals visit the Burdens' home to check in on the Shimerdas and talk about the unfortunate event. Mr. Burden persuades the coroner not to issue a warrant for Krajiek. The Burdens are informed by the postmaster that the local graveyards won't accept Mr. Shimerda as he committed suicide, causing Mrs. Burden to express her anger over this injustice. Left with no other choice, the Shimerdas plan to lay Mr. Shimerda to rest on a corner of their own property.

book 1 chapter 16

Mr. Shimerda, after being lifeless in the barn for four days, is eventually laid to rest on his own property. An impending snowstorm doesn't deter country folks from travelling miles to pay their respects at the funeral. Upon Mrs. Shimerda's insistence, a prayer in English is said for her husband by Mr. Burden. Following this, Otto directs everyone present in singing a hymn.

book 1 chapter 17

As spring arrives, the Shimerdas, with the assistance of their neighbours, erect a new log home on their land, gradually adding a windmill and some animals. One day, following an English tutorial with Yulka, Jim inquires if Ántonia would be interested in the forthcoming school term. Ántonia declines with pride, citing her farm duties as the reason, but her tearful reaction indicates her real sentiments. Jim stays for dinner at the Shimerdas', but he is taken aback by their lack of gratitude for neighborly help and Ántonia's rough demeanor.

book 1 chapter 18

As school commences, Jim's interaction with Ántonia dwindles, leading to a burst of conflict. During a visit to the Shimerdas' to retrieve a borrowed horse collar, Ambrosch reluctantly hands back a badly damaged item, resulting in a fiery argument. Ambrosch kicks Jake in the stomach, prompting Jake to hit him on the head. A swift departure follows from the Shimerda's, with Mrs. Shimerda threatening to involve the law. Upon hearing about the dispute, Mr. Burden sends Jake to town, armed with a ten-dollar bill to settle the assault fine. The subsequent weeks see the Shimerdas adopting a proud but distant attitude when crossing paths with the Burdens, while still showing respect for Mr. Burden. A restoration of peace is eventually orchestrated by Mr. Burden, employing Ambrosch for his wheat threshing and offering Ántonia a kitchen role to assist Mrs. Burden. He also absolves Mrs. Shimerda of her debt for the milk cow. In a gesture of her own pardon, Mrs. Shimerda knits Jake a pair of socks.

book 1 chapter 19

Throughout the peak of summer, Ántonia and Jim frequently enjoy each other's company, partaking in the morning routine of gathering dinner vegetables from the garden. On one particular evening, amid a rain-spattered electrical storm, both Ántonia and Jim ascend to the rooftop of the chicken coop, remaining there to gaze at the tempestuous heavens until the summons for supper reaches them. Ántonia confides in Jim, expressing her belief that his path will be smooth, while her own family's journey will be fraught with hardship.

book 2 chapter 1

Nearly three years post his relocation to Black Hawk, Jim and his grandparents opt to switch their countryside abode in favor of a townhouse at the edge of town. Otto, now jobless, embarks on a westward journey in pursuit of adventure, accompanied by Jake. Their departure, however, is preceded by assisting the Burdens in their relocation. They embark on their journey one Sunday morning via a train, never to cross paths with Jim again. Mr. Burden assumes the role of a deacon at the local Baptist church in Black Hawk, with Mrs. Burden contributing to the church's social activities. Jim, now a pupil at the local school, seamlessly fits in with his peers. He constantly probes Ambrosch for updates on Ántonia whenever the latter visits town. Ambrosch, however, proves to be a man of few words.

book 2 chapter 2

The Burdens live close to the Harlings, another family with country roots. The Harlings have three children similar in age to Jim and an elder daughter, Frances, who is employed in Mr. Harling’s office. When the Harlings' cook departs in August, Mrs. Burden persuades them to engage Ántonia.

book 2 chapter 3

Ántonia's friendly nature and effortless manner quickly make her comfortable with the Harlings. She quickly adapts to a structured schedule. Her warmth and simplicity allow her to seamlessly fit into the Harling household. Soon, she establishes a normal routine.

book 2 chapter 4

One night, Lena Lingard, a country girl, visits Ántonia at the Harlings’ to share her news of securing a job in town as a seamstress. While the Harlings receive her warmly, Ántonia is somewhat distant, unsure how to react to her guest. Jim recalls past tales of Lena, including her involvement with a nearby farmer, Ole Benson, who was so taken with her that his envious spouse assaulted her.

book 2 chapter 5

In fall, Jim often encounters Lena in the town. He aids her in selecting textiles and they exchange anecdotes and rumors about their existence in Black Hawk. Just prior to the holiday season, he spots Lena and her sibling purchasing yuletide gifts for their mom. Lena suggests her sibling to buy monogrammed kerchiefs for her. Then, with watery eyes, she confides in Jim about how much she pines for her family.

book 2 chapter 6

As the cold season approaches, Jim indulges in a variety of indoor diversions, engaging in games like charades, impersonating different characters, and dancing with Ántonia and the Harling family during the night. Ántonia narrates a tale to the Harlings about a man who inexplicably jumped into a threshing machine, resulting in his death. This tale disturbs Nina Harling, but it triggers a sense of nostalgia in Mrs. Harling, making her miss the countryside.

book 2 chapter 7

When the month of March arrives, the town of Black Hawk is buzzing with anticipation for Samson d'Arnault's arrival. D'Arnault, a blind, African American pianist, piques Jim's curiosity enough to visit the Boys’ Home where d'Arnault is staying. Walking in, Jim finds a lively crowd engrossed in music and chatter. D'Arnault then entertains the crowd with a performance featuring old plantation tunes. During one of his performances, d'Arnault senses the sound of dancing. The source of the sound is revealed to be Ántonia, Lena, and their friends dancing in the next room. At first, the girls are hesitant to join the main gathering. However, after some encouragement, they join the party and dance until d'Arnault's manager closes the piano. Once the festivities end, Jim and Ántonia head home, their hearts filled with excitement and exuberance.

book 2 chapter 8

At last, the harsh winter ceases and paves the way for spring. Ántonia, Jim, and the Harling children fill their time playing in the garden and amidst the trees. As June rolls in, the Vannis, a family of Italian origin, comes to town with a dance pavilion and starts offering dance lessons. The pavilion rapidly turns into a hub of town activities, particularly on Saturday nights, where dancing continues until the stroke of midnight.

book 2 chapter 9

Jim suggests that the town boys, who are considered well-mannered, are covertly drawn towards the rural girls who arrived in Black Hawk to work as hired girls. However, due to the town's stern and inflexible social structure, none of the boys feels at ease to date a hired girl. In contrast, Jim finds these hired girls more captivating and meaningful than the town's people. Despite the town's general disapproval, he starts spending time with them.

book 2 chapter 10

As Ántonia gains popularity at the pavilion, her fascination with dancing grows. However, when a betrothed man tries to kiss her at the Harlings' residence, complications ensue. Despite successfully fending him off, Mr. Harling gives her two choices: stop dancing or find a different job. Unwilling to give up dancing, Ántonia boldly chooses to seek employment with the town's moneylender, Wick Cutter. Upon hearing this, Mrs. Harling is upset and warns Ántonia that they cannot maintain their relationship if she works for the Cutters. Nevertheless, Ántonia stands her ground, prioritizing her freedom and confirming her departure from the Harlings.

book 2 chapter 11

The Cutters are a widely disliked pair in Black Hawk. Wick Cutter is known for his unsavory moneylending practices, luring farmers into risky loans, while Mrs. Cutter is seen as a particularly unpleasant woman. Their relationship is far from harmonious, with their frequent, dramatic disputes being well-known across the town.

book 2 chapter 12

While living with the Cutters, Ántonia immerses herself further into her blossoming social life. She creates her own clothes and strolls around town with Lena and other employed girls. High school senior Jim often tags along. When the Vannis depart, the Owl Club starts hosting Tuesday dances at the Masonic Hall, a prospect Jim declines. Jealous of the older girls and wanting a break from school confinement, Jim visits a local bar. After his integrity is doubted, he seeks out other forms of entertainment, but finds Black Hawk lacking in options. In his quest for a different source of enjoyment, Jim decides to secretly attend Saturday dances at the Firemen’s Hall, slipping out unnoticed after his grandparents go to bed. One night, after a dance, he escorts Ántonia back to the Cutters' place. Upon asking for a kiss and crossing Ántonia's boundaries, she chastises him for his audacity. This unexpected display of morality from Ántonia leaves Jim feeling fulfilled and content as he heads home.

book 2 chapter 13

Later, Jim discovers his grandmother in tears, having discovered his clandestine trips to the Firemen’s Hall dances. She's disappointed in his deceit. To make amends, Jim decides to abandon these dances, which leaves him feeling isolated once more. During his high school graduation ceremony, Jim delivers a speech that is highly praised by the audience. Following this, an emotional Ántonia offers her congratulations and is moved to tears when he reveals that he dedicated the speech to her father. Jim is overjoyed by his triumph.

book 2 chapter 14

Throughout the summertime, Jim devotes himself to intense study, preparing for university. His only break occurs in July, when he plans to join a group of girls, among them Ántonia and Lena, at the river. As he gets closer, he notices Ántonia, sitting by a stream, her eyes filled with tears. Inquiring about her sorrow, she admits to him that she misses her homeland and her father. Later on, Jim and Ántonia reconvene with the other girls, spending the rest of the day engaged in games and conversations until the sun goes down.

book 2 chapter 15

In the waning days of August, Ántonia is left to look after the Cutters' home, though she isn't comfortable being alone overnight. Jim offers to switch places with her and returns to the Burdens each morning for breakfast. On his third night, Jim is awakened by a sound, but falls back to sleep. He is later awoken again by someone in the room, coming face-to-face with Cutter, who anticipated finding Ántonia there. Cutter had designed an elaborate plan to leave his wife, intending to seduce or assault Ántonia. He had tricked Ántonia into staying overnight by telling her his valuables were hidden under her bed. A struggle follows, with Jim managing to evade Cutter by jumping out the window and fleeing through the town at night, dressed only in his nightshirt. He finally reaches home, discovering he's sustained several serious injuries. Jim stays in his room to heal, while Mrs. Burden goes with Ántonia to the Cutters' to gather her belongings. They find the house in complete chaos. As they're collecting the shredded clothes, Mrs. Cutter shows up. Mrs. Burden tries to pacify Mrs. Cutter, who then tells the surprising story of how her husband deceived her. He put her on a wrong train, while he returned to Black Hawk to execute his unsuccessful plan with Ántonia.

book 3 chapter 1

While attending college, Jim finds himself guided by a junior academic, Gaston Cleric. He rents living space from an old couple in Lincoln's outskirts and soon immerses himself in academics. Throughout the summer, he stays put in Lincoln to further his knowledge of Greek as part of his academic commitment.

book 3 chapter 2

On a spring evening of his second college year, Jim was lost in thought when he received an unexpected visitor, Lena Lingard. Dressed stylishly, Lena surprises Jim by informing him she's now a dressmaker in Lincoln, sharing specifics of her enterprise. She mentions that Ántonia is employed by Mrs. Gardener at the hotel and is betrothed to Larry Donovan. Despite feeling a mix of happiness and distress at this news, Jim expresses a desire to return home and look after her. Lena quickly shifts the conversation to the theatre, leading Jim to invite her to a future theatre event. She accepts his invitation and exits rapidly, leaving Jim alone in his study surrounded by his books.

book 3 chapter 3

During the spring season, Jim and Lena share the experience of watching several theatrical performances. They are notably moved by one play in particular, Camille, which tells the tragic tale of a man's deep affection for a woman who is succumbing to tuberculosis.

book 3 chapter 4

Jim often spends time with Lena, visiting her at her dressmaking shop, accompanying her to the theater, and enjoying Sunday breakfasts at her apartment. As time passes, he finds his classes less appealing and spends increasing hours in Lena's company. When the term nears its end, Cleric announces he's accepted a teaching position at Harvard College and asks Jim to join him. After getting his grandfather's approval, Jim decides to leave Lincoln and shares his decision with Lena. She responds with sadness but doesn't try to stop him. At term's end, Jim spends some time with his grandparents before visiting relatives in Virginia. He then leaves for Boston to join Cleric.

book 4 chapter 1

Jim finishes his studies at Harvard in half the time and heads back to Black Hawk for a summer break before law school. He's welcomed home by the Harlings on the night he arrives. Once he's caught up with his loved ones, Frances mentions Ántonia. Jim is aware that Ántonia was left by Larry Donovan with a child and no marriage. He broods over Ántonia's hardships with a bitter heart.

book 4 chapter 2

During a visit to the local photo studio to organize his grandparents' portrait, Jim spots a photo of a baby displayed prominently. The photographer tells him the baby is Ántonia's, and her brother Ambrosch will pick it up soon. After leaving the studio, Jim stops by Mrs. Harling's house, expressing a desire to know more about Ántonia's situation. Mrs. Harling directs him to Widow Steavens, who lives on the Burdens' former land.

book 4 chapter 3

Jim visits Widow Steavens in the countryside in August, receiving a warm welcome and an invitation to spend the night. She promises to share with him stories about Ántonia post-dinner. They later retire to an old sitting room upstairs where she starts narrating. As her wedding day approached, Ántonia was busy preparing for her new life, sewing items for her household. When she learned that her soon-to-be husband, Donovan, had his train conductor route changed and that they would have to relocate to Denver, she was initially disheartened. However, she quickly overcame her doubts. Her brother, Ambrosch, helped her pack and drove her to Black Hawk to catch the night train to Denver. Ántonia's family received a few messages confirming her safe arrival in Denver, but then weeks passed without any news from her. Abruptly, she returned home, unmarried and heartbroken following Donovan's abandonment and his escape to Mexico. She spent the spring and summer working in the fields, mostly keeping to herself. She surprised everyone by giving birth to a child in the winter. Her pregnancy had gone unnoticed due to the oversized clothes she wore. Widow Steavens wraps up her narrative informing Jim that Ántonia's baby is now nearly two years old and is quite healthy. Jim spends the night in his old room, lying awake and observing the moonlit windmill.

book 4 chapter 4

Jim heads to the Shimerdas' the following day where Yulka introduces him to Ántonia’s little one. Afterwards, he seeks out Ántonia in the fields and they proceed to Mr. Shimerda’s burial site. Jim discloses his ambition to attend law school and shares about his existence in the East. Ántonia, in turn, shares her determination to raise her daughter in the world. They stroll through the Nebraska fields at dusk and a strong sense of longing for the landscape overpowers Jim. They part ways at the field's end, with Jim vowing to return and Ántonia swearing to always remember him. As Jim makes his way back to his childhood farmhouse in the darkness, he has a sensation of two children running along beside him.

book 5 chapter 1

Several decades later, Jim finds himself back in Nebraska, on his way home to New York from a business trip. He plans to visit Ántonia, about whom he knows little since their last meeting, except that she is now married to a man named Cuzak and has many children. Arriving at the Cuzak family farm, Jim is escorted to the house by two young boys and is greeted by two older girls in the kitchen. When Ántonia enters, she initially fails to recognize Jim. Upon realization, she is overwhelmed with joy and gathers her children for introductions. They sit in the kitchen and reminisce about the past and catch up on recent events. In the middle of their conversation, one of Ántonia’s sons comes in, devastated over the death of his dog. Ántonia comforts him, and the family shows Jim their new fruit cave. They then tour him around the farmhouse and orchard. Following another long conversation about the past, Ántonia invites Jim to spend the night, and he requests to sleep in the haymow with her sons. Ántonia then leaves to make dinner while Jim goes to help the boys milk the cows. During dinner, the family all squeeze into the kitchen. Post-meal, they gather in the living room for some music performed by the Cuzak children. Afterward, Ántonia shows Jim a box of photographs, telling stories as they look through them until late. Jim and the boys then retire to the barn for the night. The boys fall asleep quickly, but Jim stays awake, contemplating his memories of Ántonia.

book 5 chapter 2

Jim gets ready in the barn the following day and comes into the kitchen to a prepared breakfast. Later, Cuzak comes back with their eldest son and meets Jim. They chat about their recent venture to town, highlighting a dance where they met many of Ántonia's Bohemian friends. As Ántonia serves a dinner of geese and apples, the conversation shifts to Black Hawk and a shocking murder-suicide incident involving Wick Cutter and his wife. After dinner, Jim and Cuzak stroll through the orchard, with Cuzak sharing his early life experiences. Despite missing his former life in Bohemia and Vienna, he admits that Ántonia's love and his vibrant family life have kept him from spiraling into despair.

book 5 chapter 3

Upon concluding his meal the subsequent day, Jim bids goodbye to the Cuzak family. His departure scene is charged with emotion, with each family member there to wish him well and Ántonia waving her apron at the windmill as he drives off in the buggy. Once in Black Hawk the following day, he finds the town unfamiliar and struggles to find a way to keep himself busy until the arrival of the night express train. As evening approaches, he ventures past the town's periphery, experiencing a sense of returning home. During his stroll, he stumbles upon a section of the old road that stretches out to the rural farms. Despite a good portion of the path being swallowed by plowing activities, Jim still identifies it with ease. He settles down beside the overgrown path, absorbing the sight of the sunlit haystacks.

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