Study Guide

My Ántonia Book 1, Chapter 6

By Willa Cather

Book 1, Chapter 6

  • One afternoon Jim is giving Ántonia a reading lesson outside on the grass. By now she can speak English well. They are sitting by the badger hole and Ántonia is talking about how the badger is highly esteemed where she's from, and how the men hunt him using a special kind of dog.
  • Jim looks at all the rabbits running around. Ántonia captures a small green insect and listens to him chirp. She tells Jim about an old beggar woman named Old Hata who used to live in her village. If you took her in and let her sit by the fire she would sing you songs.
  • When it's time to go home, Ántonia puts the green insect in her hair for safe keeping.
  • Jim loves those fall afternoons. He looks at the miles of red grass.
  • They see a man walking along with a gun. He looks sad, and it turns out to be Ántonia's father. She explains to Jim that he is sick all the time. When they run to meet him, Mr. Shimerda shows them a rabbit he just shot. Ántonia explains that they will eat the meat and use the skin to make hats for the winter.
  • Then Ántonia talks to her father in Bohemian and shows him the little green insect. Meanwhile Jim checks out his gun. Ántonia translates from her father, who tells Jim that when he's older he will give him that gun as a present.
  • Jim notes that the Shimerdas are poor but like to give away everything they own. Ántonia and her father go home, and Jim goes back to his own farm.