My Antonia: Summary My Antonia was written by Willa Cather in 1918. The story stars out with a young boy named Jim Burden. E travels by cross- country train to live with his grandparents at the age of ten. His grandparents live on the Nebraska frontier. He has just recently lost both of his parents, and he is accompanied by a farm hand named Jake. On the same train is a bohemian family that can barley speak English. They are going to the same place. When Jim reaches the station he is greeted by Otto Fuchs, an Austrian desperado cowboy. Soon Jim goes to meet the bohemians that were on the train with him. Jim meets Mr. Shimerda, an educated musician; Mrs. Shimerda, a very complaining and demanding woman; the oldest son Ambrosch, who is stubborn; Marek, a mentally challenged boy; and Yulka, a young and pretty girl. The oldest daughter is named Antonia. Antonia and Jim instantly become friends, and they spend a lot of time together. Jim also tries to teach her English. The Burdens try to help out the Shimerdas as much as they can, because the Shimerdas are not doing so well in the new country. Summer passes, and soon winter comes. Jim gets very sick, and Pavel (one of the French guys that befriend the Shimerdas) dies after unburdening his heart with a horrible story from his past. Mr. Shimerda becomes depressed after Peter moves away. The Burdens celebrate Christmas and make presents for each other since they cannot get into town to buy some. In the middle of the biggest snowstorms in ten years, Mr. Shimerda shoots himself after arranging himself neatly in the barn. Jake suspects that Krajiek killed him, but nothing is ever proven. Jim is left in the house by himself some days afterwards, and he senses that Mr. Shimerda s spirit resting on his way back to his homeland. Mr.Shimerda is buried at the corner of his property. After the funeral the Burdens and other neighbors make a big effort to help out the Shimerdas. Antonia gives up going to school and starts to farm. Jim is resentful that she does not spend as much time with him. The Shimerdas and the Burdens get into a little feud because of Ambrosch s bad behavior. The Shimerdas do not act very grateful for the help they are receiving from their neighbors. After about three years, Jim s grandparents move to the town of Black Hawk so that Jim can go to school. Antonia also comes to town so that she can work for the Harlings in their home. Jim spends a lot of time with the Harling children and Antonia. Antonia begins to go dancing all of the time because it is the craze in town. When the Harlings tell her to stop going because it is giving her a bad reputations she quits and starts working for Wick Cutter a notorious philanderer. Jim begins to be antisocial and will only spend time with Antonia and the other hired girls. He studies a lot in preparation for college, and wants to leave Black Hawk as soon as possible.
Jim goes to a college called Lincoln. He becomes very close with his Latin instructor Gaston Cleric. One day Lena Lingard, one of the hired girls comes to visit him, and they start going to plays together. Gaston notices that Jim is slacking off in his work and asks him to go to Harvard with him. Jim agrees to go. Two years later, before entering law school, Jim returns to Black Hawk, where he hears about Antonia s pregnancy and engagement to Larry Donovan. She followed him to Denver, but he ran off soon after she arrived. She returned to her family s farm where she had her child, avoided people, and worked on the land. Jim goes to visit her and tells her how much she means to him. Jim promises to return again to visit. Jim does not return until twenty years later after finding out that Antonia had gotten married to Anton Cuzak, and now has about ten or eleven children. When he arrives on the Cuzack farm, he is greeted by many of her children. Antonia doesn t immediately recognize him, but is very excited when she does. Jim is happy to see Antonia doing so well, and sleeps in the farm with two of the boys. The next day he meets Cuzack, who was away on a vacation. Jim likes him immediately. The next day Jim leaves. He then returns to Black Hawk for a day. There he finds the old dirt road that used o go to his grandparent s farm, and he thinks about how that road was the road of Destiny and how now he has returned full circle back to where he started.