Notes on Objects & Places from My Antonia

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My Antonia Objects/Places

Country/Prairie: The country where the novel begins. Jim moves to the country, where his grandparents live. He meets Antonia and her family, who are their nearest neighbors. Jim and Antonia share many adventures discovering and exploring the prairie.

Snake: The snake Jim kills is old and lazy. Jim is lucky that he was armed at the moment Antonia spots the snake behind Jim. Jim's killing of the snake wins Antonia's approval and respect.

Mrs.Burden's garden: The garden where Jim finds happiness and contentment when he first arrives in the country. The different varieties of plants and vegetables surround Jim in a happy haven.

Grasshopper: The insect in which Antonia and Mr. Shimerda seem to find something special. Antonia takes care of a grasshopper, placing it in her hair to show her father. Mr. Shimerda finds its music enchanting.

Kitchen: The Burdens' kitchen is where Jim believes the warmth and soul of the household is located. Later, he believes that Mr. Shimerda's soul lies in the kitchen on its way back to Bohemia.

Mr. Shimerda's fiddle: The fiddle that Mr. Shimerda brings with him to America from Bohemia but has never played. He had been too unhappy to play music. Later, Antonia's son, Leo, plays Mr. Shimerda's fiddle.

The Shimerdas' mushrooms: Mrs. Shimerda gives the Burdens a package of tiny brown shavings that they cannot identify and throw away. The Shimerdas use them in their cooking, and they treasure these unidentifiable objects. Jim later learns that the shavings are dried mushrooms.

Mr. Shimerda's gun: Mr. Shimerda promises Jim that he will give him his gun. Later, Mr. Shimerda kills himself with his gun.

Plough: The heavy farm machinery that threshes and cuts the wheat crops. Antonia uses this machine when Jim sees her helping her brother tend their fields. The image of the plough against the sunset has a profound effect on Jim, Antonia, Lena, and Tiny during their picnic.

Black Hawk: The town where the Burdens move and the hired girls come to work. The town is symbolic of typical small-town values of the time. There is a defined social order and hierarchy.

Corn-knife: The knife used to cut shucks of corn and associated with Lena Lingard. Crazy Mary chases Lena with this after Ole Benson publicly declares his desire for Lena. Also, Jim dreams that Lena comes up to him, carrying the corn-knife and kissing him.

Dancing Tent: The Vannis' dancing tent disrupts the Black Hawk social order. The young men all want to dance with the hired girls. The Harlings fire Antonia when she will not stop attending the dances.

School: Jim attends the local elementary and high schools, but the hired girls do not. Antonia regrets not going to school because she had wanted to be educated like her father. Later, Jim attends the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and then transfers to Harvard.

Lena's dressmaking shop: Lena has become a very successful dressmaker. The citizens of Black Hawk now regard her with respect, rather than contempt and disapproval, as they had before.

Theater: Jim and Lena attend the theater many times in Lincoln. Jim is glad to take Lena instead of the Lincoln girls who are more concerned with the social scene than the play itself.

Cuzaks' farm: By the close of the novel, Antonia has a large and prosperous farm, with several orchards, a barn, a windmill, a fruit cellar, crops, and a garden.

Mr. Shimerda's grave: Mrs. Shimerda and Ambrosch want Mr. Shimerda to be buried on a corner of their property, which will ultimately be the intersection between two roads. The exact spot does become an intersection, but the roads bend to form a little island where the grave is. Jim believes that there is not a driver that passes by the grave who does not wish well to Mr. Shimerda's soul.

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