Study Guide

My Ántonia Book 4, Chapter 3

By Willa Cather

Book 4, Chapter 3

  • In August Jim goes out to see the Widow Steavens. He looks at the landscape as he goes. The grass is replaced with crops and there are many more houses than there used to be.
  • The Widow tells Jim to have supper with them and then she'll tell him the story and he can stay overnight.
  • The Widow tells the following story:
  • Ántonia was sewing a lot of clothes and linens as she got ready to go away and be married. She was happy.
  • Ántonia worries when she learns that Larry wants them to live in Denver. She is a country girl, she says, so she thinks she might not do so well in the city. Finally she gets a letter from Larry telling her to come and meet him.
  • Ambrosch gives her three hundred dollars to take with her.
  • Ántonia gets to Denver and meets Larry. He says he wants to wait a few days to get his promotion before they officially get married. A month goes by and no one at home hears anything from Ántonia.
  • Finally Ántonia comes back home alone. The Widow goes to see her; Ántonia says that she's not married, but that she ought to be. Then she says that Larry ran away from her. He got fired and used up all Ántonia's money and then ran away, probably to Mexico.
  • The Widow is upset that such a good girl came to such a bad end.
  • That spring Ántonia works like a man out in the fields. Marek, the retarded Shimerda sibling, is sent away to an institution. Tony refuses to leave her farm.
  • One night Ántonia brings the cattle in, goes inside, and has her child without calling to anyone or making any noise.
  • The Widow goes over to help with the infant. Ambrosch wants to drown it because it's an illegitimate child but she tells him not to.
  • Ántonia loves the child and is not ashamed of it.
  • The Widow ends her story. Jim spends the night there and looks out his window at the windmill.