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My Antonia

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 08:16 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 61 
  • Words: 1651
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1. Jim Burden, a successful New York City lawyer, leaves an acquaintance a memoir of his Nebraska childhood in the form of a recollection of their mutual friend, Antonia Shimerda.


Jim had first arrived in Nebraska at the age of ten, when he was made the trip west to live with his grandparents after finding himself as an orphan in Virginia. On this same train, Jim has his first glimpse of the Shimerdas, a Bohemian immigrant family traveling in the same direction.


As fate would have it, the Shimerdas have taken up residence in a neighboring farm to the Burdens'. Jim makes fast friends with the Shimerda children, especially Antonia, who is nearest to him in age, and eager to learn English. At her father's request, Jim begins to tutor Antonia, and the two of them spend much of the autumn exploring their new landscape together.


Shortly after Christmas, tragedy strikes with the suicide of Mr. Shimerda. After an emotional funeral, the Shimerdas retreat into despair, and the Burdens struggle to be as accommodating as possible. As a result of the hardships that the Shimerdas suffer, a wedge is driven between Antonia and Jim.


A couple of years later, the Burdens decide to move into town, and shortly thereafter Antonia takes a job as a housekeeper with a neighboring family, the Harlings. Jim begins to see more of Antonia once again, especially when a dancing pavilion comes to town and enlivens the social situation.


Jim's high school years quickly come to a close, and he is offered a spot at the university in Lincoln. He makes a great success of his commencement speech, and spends the summer hard at work in preparation for his course of study. Before leaving, he takes one last trip out to the countryside with Antonia and her friends, where they gather to reminisce about old times together.


In Lincoln, Jim throws himself into his studies, which take up the majority of his time in the first year and a half of his...

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