Study Guide

My Ántonia Book 4, Chapter 4

By Willa Cather

Book 4, Chapter 4

  • The next afternoon he goes over to the Shimerdas'. He sees the baby, but Ántonia is out. He goes out to the fields to find her. She's working with a pitchfork.
  • Ántonia looks thin but still strong. Jim notes that she's only 24 but that a lot has happened to her already.
  • The two of them sit down by a fence to talk to each other. Jim looks at the grass. He tells Ántonia what he's been up to the last few years. He reveals that Gaston died of pneumonia.
  • Ántonia talks about her father. She says that the older she gets, she better she understands him.
  • Then she asks if Jim has gotten to like living in cities, because she is definitely a country girl.
  • Jim tells Ántonia that he thinks of her more than anyone else in the world. He says he wishes he could have had her for a wife or mother or sister or anything that a woman could be to a man. She is in his mind and influences him all the time, he says.
  • Ántonia wonders at how this could be. She agrees that Jim means a lot to her and thinks that it is wonderful. She tells him that as soon as her daughter grows up she'll tell her all about him.
  • They walk home and watch the sun set. Jim looks at the landscape. He wishes he were a kid again.
  • Before he leaves Jim promises that he will come back. Ántonia says he will be there in spirit even when he is away.
  • As Jim leaves he imagines himself and Ántonia playing in the grass when they were kids.

(Click the plot infographic to download.)