Study Guide

My Ántonia Book 2, Chapter 15

By Willa Cather

Book 2, Chapter 15

  • It's late August. The Cutters are going to Omaha for a few days. After they leave, Ántonia comes over to see the Burdens.
  • She tells them a story. Before Wick departed, he gave her all the valuables in the house in a basket and told her to keep them under her bed. He makes her promise that she won't leave the house or let any of her friends sleep over. He explains that he just put a new lock on the front door.
  • Now Ántonia feels uncomfortable staying alone in the house. They arrange for Jim to stay alone in the house in her place while she stays at the Burdens'.
  • Jim doesn't like the idea but he agrees anyway. Everything is fine the first night. He comes home the next morning and Ántonia has breakfast waiting for him.
  • The second night also passes without trouble.
  • The third night Jim wakes up in the middle of the night and hears a door close downstairs. He falls back asleep.
  • He wakes back up because someone sits down on the edge of his bed. He lies still and doesn't move. He feels a hand on his shoulder and something hairy on his face. He knows it's Wick so he pulls at the man's whiskers.
  • Wick goes crazy. He thinks Jim and Ántonia are in bed together. He has Jim by the throat and starts punching.
  • Jim manages to get free and jumps out the window. He runs home and gets into bed and goes to sleep.
  • Grandmother finds him the next morning. He's covered in blood because Wick punched him in the face.
  • Grandmother wants to call the doctor, but Jim won't let her. He asks her not to let anyone know what happened. So she takes care of his wounds herself.
  • Jim also refuses to see Ántonia. He hates her and never wants to see her again.
  • Grandfather finds out what happened. It turned out Wick came home on a late train and left again early the next morning. He has a sling on his arm and won't tell anyone how it all happened.
  • Ántonia and Jim's grandmother go over to Cutter's to pack her stuff. Her room is all torn apart and disheveled.
  • While they're packing up, Mrs. Cutter shows up at the door. Grandmother tells her what happened and says that Ántonia is going to be with them for a while.
  • Mrs. Cutter tells them what happened on her end. She and Cutter were on their way home from Omaha and had to stop at a junction. He told her he had to stay overnight there but that she should go on home alone. He puts her on a train. Later, she realized that she was headed to Kansas City. This way Cutter ended up going home alone.
  • Narrator-Jim thinks that Cutter liked making his wife upset. He thoroughly enjoyed it. It was the one thing he couldn't do without.