by Willa Cather
My Ántonia Foreignness and 'The Other' Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
Now his middle horse was being almost dragged by the other two. Pavel gave Peter the reins and stepped carefully into the back of the sledge. He called to the groom that they must lighten -- and pointed to the bride. The young man cursed him and held her tighter. Pavel tried to drag her away. In the struggle, the groom rose. Pavel knocked him over the side of the sledge and threw the girl after him. He said he never remembered exactly how he did it, or what happened afterward. Peter, crouching in the front seat, saw nothing. (1.8.18)
My Ántonia is oddly punctuated with these harsh, violent stories (another example of Ántonia's story of the man who jumped into the threshing machine). This might be a reminder that the immigrants are used to a tougher, harsher lifestyle than the Americans.
"I thought about your papa when I wrote my speech, Tony," I said. "I dedicated it to him." (2.13.25)
This is the second time we've heard Jim talk about Mr. Shimerda with this degree of intensity. Why does Ántonia's father and his death end up being so important to Jim?
"Jim," she said earnestly, "if I was put down there in the middle of the night, I could find my way all over that little town; and along the river to the next town, where my grandmother lived. My feet remember all the little paths through the woods, and where the big roots stick out to trip you. I ain't never forgot my own country." (2.14.12)
Jim ends up expressing a similar sentiment about the American West when he looks back on his time there. Remember that he is writing this memoir as a lawyer living in New York. In a way Jim, too, has emigrated from the West to a new country and lifestyle on the east coast.