Quote 3

“Why aren’t you always nice like this, Tony?”
“How nice?”
“Why, just like this; like yourself. Why do you all the time try to be like Ambrosch?”
She put her arms under her head and lay back, looking up at the sky. “If I live here, like you, that is different. Things will be easy for you. But they will be hard for us.”

This dialogue from Book I, Chapter XIX, occurs as Jim and Ántonia sit on the roof of the chicken house, watching the electrical storm. The two have grown apart somewhat following Mr. Shimerda’s suicide, as Jim has begun to attend school and Ántonia has been forced to spend her time working on the farm. Jim has found himself dismayed by Ántonia’s increasing coarseness and her pride in her own strength. As they sit watching the lightning storm, Jim feels his old intimacy returning, and he brings himself to ask Ántonia why she has changed. Ántonia understands Jim’s question and, because she is four years older, understands better than he does why their lives have begun to move in separate directions. Jim has opportunities and a bright future ahead of him, but for Ántonia, life now means simply helping her family get by. Ántonia acknowledges this unalterable circumstance with her customarily wise simplicity: “Things will be easy for you. But they will be hard for us.”