by Willa Cather
My Ántonia Foreignness and 'The Other' Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
[Jim]: "People who don't like this country ought to stay at home," I said severely. "We don't make them come here." (1.13.5)
It's worth noting that Jim and Ántonia's first real fight is on the topic of immigration. Jim feels defensive about his country, while Ántonia is similarly defensive about her family's status.
"They ain't the same, Jimmy," he kept saying in a hurt tone. "These foreigners ain't the same. You can't trust 'em to be fair." (1.15.18)
As portrayed in My Ántonia, the Americans in this time and place have a particular mindset when it comes to immigrants. They've set up families like the Shimerdas as complete outsiders. This represents part of the difficulty in breaking down the social barriers.
There never were such people as the Shimerdas for wanting to give away everything they had. Even the mother was always offering me things, though I knew she expected substantial presents in return. (1.6.12)
This is one example of the cultural differences that stand between Jim and Ántonia. The Shimerdas simply have a different way of doing things. Ántonia's mother, for example, thinks it is her right to take a pot or two from the Burdens if they're not using all their crockery.