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My Ántonia

My Ántonia


by Willa Cather

Ántonia Shimerda Timeline and Summary

  • Ántonia and her family are on the train to Nebraska. We learn that they are immigrants from Bohemia.
  • Ántonia meets Jim when he comes to visit the Shimerdas at their house along with his grandmother.
  • Ántonia is eager to learn English from Jim.
  • She tries to give Jim her ring, which really ticks him off.
  • Ántonia and Jim spend lots of time together outdoors, enjoying the Nebraska landscape. She is a quick study and learns a lot of English.
  • Ántonia takes Jim to visit Peter and Pavel.
  • Ántonia admits to Jim that her father is not doing so well.
  • When Jim kills the big rattlesnake, Ántonia brags about it to anyone who'll listen.
  • Ántonia tells Jim the story of Peter, Pavel, and many, many wolves.
  • Ántonia and her family suffer through the long hard winter. She gets jealous of how easy Jim has it, and the two of them have their first fight.
  • Ántonia's father commits suicide.
  • Ántonia mourns her father's death. At the funeral, she tries to take care of her sister Yulka.
  • Ántonia pretends she doesn't care that she can't go to school with Jim, but he spots her tears.
  • Ántonia assumes the role of second male in the family. She works out in the fields because her father is dead and no one else is around to help Ambrosch.
  • Ántonia takes her family's side when Ambrosch gets into a fight with Jake.
  • She ends up working for the Burdens. One night she shares a moment with Jim up on the roof during a lightning storm.
  • Ántonia ends up going to town to work for the Harlings. She enjoys the life there.
  • She becomes friends with Lena, and they end up being the most attractive girls in town.
  • One night, she tells Jim (and others) a gruesome story about a man killing himself in a threshing machine.
  • Ántonia, Tiny, and Lena make a splash at the town dances.
  • One night, a boy who is engaged to another girl tries to kiss Ántonia. Hullabaloo ensues. Mr. Harling ends up telling her she can't do to the town dances anymore.
  • So Ántonia leaves the Harlings and goes to work for Wick Cutter.
  • One night, after a dance, Jim tries to kiss Ántonia. She tells him not to kiss her like that, and also not to get involved with Lena.
  • Ántonia admires the speech Jim gives at his graduation.
  • Ántonia is reasonably weirded out by Cutter's order that she stay alone at his house. She gets Jim to stay there in her place, thus narrowly escaping being smooched (and other things) by sleazy Cutter.
  • Later, we hear what happened to Ántonia while Jim was away at college. It turns out she almost married a guy named Larry Donovan who used her for her money, got her pregnant, and never married her.
  • After getting ditched, Ántonia returned home and had her baby without any help from anyone.
  • She is not ashamed; she loves her child.
  • Jim meets up with Ántonia and of course she is happy to see him. The two of them talk about how much they mean to each other.
  • Twenty years later, Jim goes to see Ántonia again. She doesn't recognize him at first, but then she is overjoyed to be reunited with him. She shows him her eleven children, her farm, and her husband.
  • We see that Ántonia never lost her passion for life.