by Willa Cather
My Ántonia Passivity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
As for Jim, no disappointments have been severe enough to chill his naturally romantic and ardent disposition. This disposition, though it often made him seem very funny when he was a boy, has been one of the strongest elements in his success. He loves with a personal passion the great country through which his railway runs and branches. […] Jim is still able to lose himself in those big Western dreams. Though he is over forty now, he meets new people and new enterprises with the impulsiveness by which his boyhood friends remember him. He never seems to me to grow older. (Introduction.4)
How does the narrator's initial description of Jim fit the character we see in the memoir? Does Jim see himself in the same light in which the narrator sees him?
I looked up with interest at the new face in the lantern-light. He might have stepped out of the pages of "Jesse James." He wore a sombrero hat, with a wide leather band and a bright buckle, and the ends of his moustache were twisted up stiffly, like little horns. He looked lively and ferocious, I thought, and as if he had a history. A long scar ran across one cheek and drew the corner of his mouth up in a sinister curl. The top of his left ear was gone, and his skin was brown as an Indian's. Surely this was the face of a desperado. (1.1.5)
Jim's admiration for Otto seems a product of his own passivity. He admires Otto's traditionally masculine qualities because he himself lacks these traits.
I was not frightened, but I made no noise. I did not wish to disturb him. I went softly down to the kitchen which, tucked away so snugly underground, always seemed to me the heart and centre of the house. There, on the bench behind the stove, I thought and thought about Mr. Shimerda. (1.14.27)
Jim makes up in sensitivity what he lacks in decisiveness and action. He understands emotions and is able to deal with difficult situations in a way that a characters more prone to action would not.