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My Ántonia

Willa Cather

Book II, Chapters VIII–XV

Book II, Chapters I–VII

Book II, Chapters VIII–XV, page 2

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[The plow] stood out against the sun . . . the handles, the tongue, the share—black against the molten red. There it was, heroic in size, a picture writing on the sun.

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Summary: Chapter VIII

Finally, the long winter gives way to spring, and Ántonia, Jim, and the Harling children spend their days in the garden and at play among the trees. In June, the Vannis, an Italian family, arrive with a dancing pavilion and begin giving lessons. The pavilion quickly becomes a center of town life, especially on Saturday nights, when the dancing carries on until midnight.

Summary: Chapter IX

Jim claims that all the socially respectable boys are secretly attracted to the country girls who came to Black Hawk as hired girls. But because of the town’s extremely rigid social hierarchy, none of the town boys feels comfortable dating a hired girl. For his part, Jim finds the hired girls more interesting and worthwhile than the townsfolk, and he begins to spend time with them, to the general disapproval of the community.

Summary: Chapter X

Over time, Ántonia begins to draw notice at the pavilion, and thoughts of dancing soon preoccupy her waking hours. Trouble arises when an engaged boy attempts to kiss Ántonia on the Harlings’ back porch. Although Ántonia manages to fight him off, Mr. Harling presents her with an ultimatum: she must quit dancing or look for work elsewhere. Indignant, Ántonia decides to take her chances on her own and announces her plan to find work with Wick Cutter, the local moneylender. Distraught, Mrs. Harling tells Ántonia that she cannot speak to her if she works for the Cutters. Ántonia insists on keeping her independence and leaving the Harlings.

Summary: Chapter XI

Jim describes the Cutters as a detestable Black Hawk couple, generally loathed by the populace: Wick Cutter is a devious moneylender who makes his money by manipulating farmers into accepting unwise loans, and Mrs. Cutter is a hideous shrew. The Cutters do not even get along with each other, and their epic arguments are legendary throughout the town.

Summary: Chapter XII

Once set up at the Cutters, Ántonia spends even more time and energy on her new social life. She sews her own outfits and parades around town with Lena and a number of the other hired girls. Now a senior in high school, Jim sometimes travels about with them. After the Vannis leave town, a group called the Owl Club begins to stage dances in the Masonic Hall each Tuesday, but Jim refuses to join. Envious of the older girls, Jim begins to grow restless at the thought of being cooped up in school, and so he visits a local saloon. When Jim’s reputation is brought into question, he is forced to look elsewhere for diversion, but he quickly finds that very few diversions are to be found in Black Hawk.

Eager to find an alternative, Jim resolves to attend the Saturday night dances at the Firemen’s Hall, sneaking out of the house after his grandparents have fallen asleep. One evening, after a night of dancing, Jim walks Ántonia back to the Cutters. When he asks for a kiss and goes a little farther than Ántonia expects, she scolds him for his brazenness. Jim, pleased at her show of virtue, walks home with his heart full of her.

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Plot

by heggedunk, August 19, 2012

My Antonia is a modernist novel about the coming of age. Modernism is a style of writing used from the late 19th century till the 1930s. Modernism is a style that has no central plot instead it is more of a series of episodes. Please take note that most teachers ask for a specific plot where this novel doesn't really have one. My advice here would be to talk about the aging of the main characters or Jim's attraction to Antonia as a main plot. Also take note that both Jim Burden and Antonia can be considered Protagonists. I hope this helps as... Read more

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213 out of 244 people found this helpful

Regarding Mr.Shimerda

by STianF223, October 10, 2013

Mr. Shimerda CANNOT possibly have committed suicide for this is impossible. The scene has showed that Mr. Shimerda, laying on his side with the gun beside him. Otto's suspicion was that Mr. Shimerda was to lay on his side and put his long rifle in his mouth, using his big toe to pull the trigger, and kill himself. This would make sense, seeing how the scene was created and how there was a bullet hole in the wall until it takes up on account of two major problem, being the Shimerdas are HIGHLY religious and that there were pieces of his head,... Read more

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20 out of 46 people found this helpful

Another Harling

by rachelnolan, November 20, 2013

Actually, Sally is not the youngest Harling child, Nina is. They have 5 children.

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