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My Ántonia | Study Guide

Willa Cather

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My Ántonia | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Late summer, late 1800s

    Jim and the Shimerdas arrive in Black Hawk, Nebraska.

    Book 1, Chapter 1
  • A few days later

    Jim meets Ántonia, and Mr. Shimerda asks him to teach Ántonia English.

    Book 1, Chapter 3
  • The following January

    Mr. Shimerda commits suicide.

    Book 1, Chapter 14
  • That April

    Ántonia tells Jim she must work instead of going to school.

    Book 1, Chapter 17
  • March two years later

    Jim and his grandparents move from the country into town.

    Book 2, Chapter 1
  • That August

    Ántonia moves to town to work as a hired girl for Jim's neighbors and friends the Harling family.

    Book 2, Chapter 2
  • That autumn

    Lena moves to town to apprentice as a dressmaker.

    Book 2, Chapter 4
  • Four years later

    Jim moves to Lincoln to begin college.

    Book 3, Chapter 1
  • That same year

    Lena moves to Lincoln to open her own business as a dressmaker.

    Book 3, Chapter 2
  • End of the next year

    Jim decides to attend Harvard and says goodbye to Lena with whom he has fallen in love.

    Book 3, Chapter 4
  • During that time

    Ántonia leaves to marry Larry but returns home unmarried and has a baby.

    Book 4, Chapter 1
  • That August

    Jim visits Black Hawk and sees Ántonia and her child, promising to return.

    Book 4, Chapter 4
  • 20 years later

    Jim visits Ántonia, and is relieved to find she is still his Ántonia. He meets her children.

    Book 5, Chapter 1
  • The next day

    Jim meets Anton Cuzak, Ántonia's husband.

    Book 5, Chapter 2
  • The next day

    Jim travels to Black Hawk and the road that first brought him to his Nebraska home.

    Book 5, Chapter 3
  • Sometime later

    Jim talks with a friend on a train about Ántonia, and he decides to write his memories of Ántonia.


Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Introduction and Book 1, Chapter 1 The unnamed narrator of the Introduction speaks with her childhood friend Jim Burden as they travel westward on a trai... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 2–3 Jim awakens in the afternoon to see his grandmother, an energetic, loving woman, watching over him. She takes him to b... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 4–5 Jim takes his new pony, Dude, for his first solo ride across the prairie, meandering through the tall grasses. In the ... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 6–7 The first frost arrives, and Jim and Ántonia have their reading lesson outside by a badger hole. Ántonia tells Jim abo... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 8–9 Peter confides in Mr. Shimerda that he is deeply in debt to Wick Cutter, a cruel lender from Black Hawk. Pavel injures... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 10–11 Otto tells Mrs. Burden he has seen Mr. Shimerda wearing the family's only shared overcoat and Ambrosch carrying dead p... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 12–13 On Christmas day after doing their chores, Otto and Jake join the family inside. Jim's grandfather leads the family in... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 14–15 Jim is awakened early in the morning by his grandmother's shrill voice, which tells him something is wrong: Mr. Shimer... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 16–17 Five days after his death, Shimerda's body frozen solid in the barn, the neighbors gather to bury him. Mrs. Shimerda a... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 18–19 Jim and Jake go one day to the Shimerdas to collect a horse collar they lent them. Ambrosch acts dumb. When Jake insis... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 1–2 Jim's grandparents decide to move to town for their own reasons. Otto and Jake help them move into their new home in B... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 3–4 Ántonia comes to work for the Harling family. She enjoys playing with the children and is eager to please Charley espe... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 5–6 Jim sometimes encounters Lena running errands for her employer, and she tells him about dresses she is making or her S... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 7–8 Ántonia, Jim, and friends gather at the Boys' Home one evening to hear a traveling "mulatto" musician called Blind d'A... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 9–10 Jim thinks very highly of the hired girls, daughters of immigrants who helped break the sod for their farms and go to ... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 11–12 Wick Cutter is a nefarious money lender who takes advantage of immigrants. He is a gambler and a womanizer. Two women ... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 13–14 Jim finds his grandmother crying one day, and he guesses correctly she knows of his secret behavior. He promises to st... Read More
Book 2, Chapter 15 The Cutters have to go to Omaha, but before they leave Mr. Cutter puts valuables under Ántonia's bed and tells her not t... Read More
Book 3, Chapters 1–2 Jim begins college in Lincoln, renting two small rooms from an older couple. He stays over the following summer, rathe... Read More
Book 3, Chapters 3–4 Jim and Lena attend a performance of Camille by Alexandre Dumas, fils. Lena is free with her emotions at theater perfo... Read More
Book 4, Chapters 1–2 After finishing at Harvard and before starting law school, Jim goes back to visit his grandparents. He had heard from ... Read More
Book 4, Chapters 3–4 As Jim drives to visit Mrs. Steavens he notices the land is getting built up "and naturally the whole face of the coun... Read More
Book 5, Chapters 1–2 Over the many years to come Jim hears from Ántonia occasionally. He learns that she marries and has a number of childr... Read More
Book 5, Chapter 3 The next day Jim says goodbye to take the train to Black Hawk. He promises to take two of the boys hunting the next summ... Read More
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