My Antonia

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My Antonia Book 1, Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
There is good weather after Christmas, and Ántonia brings Mrs. Shimerda to visit the Burdens for the first time. But Mrs. Shimerda is angry and jealous of the Burdens' nice house, and rudely asks Jim's grandmother for one of her pots. Jim's grandmother gives it to her. Jim thinks Mrs. Shimerda is selfish, but his grandmother tells him in confidence that it's hard for a mother to see her children wanting for things.
Jim's failure to understand this situation shows his immaturity and lack of understanding about the differences between his experience and that of the Shimerda's. His grandmother's kind gesture shows a maturity gained with age.
Themes
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence and Maturity Theme Icon
Jim snaps at Ántonia when she complains that Mr. Shimerda is sick. He tells her, "People who don't like this country ought to stay home." Ántonia responds that Mr. Shimerda only came to America because Mrs. Shimerda wanted good husbands for her and Yulka and opportunity for Ambrosch. She adds that Ambrosch will be very successful one day. Jim thinks Ambrosch is surly, and is disgusted that he is considered the most important person in the Shimerdas' family.
Jim's simplistic understanding of why immigrants come to America reveals his immaturity. He dislikes Ambrosch mainly because he finds it unfair that Ambrosch has greater opportunities than Ántonia just because he is male. Ántonia seems much less bothered and accepts the situation as just the way things are.
Themes
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence and Maturity Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon