My Antonia

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My Antonia Book 1, Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Mr. Shimerda's funeral occurs five days after his death, just as a new snow storm approaches. Nevertheless, neighbors from all over the region attend the funeral. Mrs. Shimerda asks Jim's grandfather to say a prayer, in English, at the funeral.
Despite their differences from the Shimerdas, farmers on the prairie stick together in tough times. Mrs. Shimerda's request shows she understands that her family must assimilate.
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Mr. Shimerda is buried at the corner of the Shimerda's land. Jim says that years afterward, roads were built that crossed at that spot, and after all the prairie grass had been eventually cut up by farmers, the grave is the only place where the grass still grows. Jim says "in all that country it was the spot most dear to me."
The gravesite is important to Jim because he associates his childhood with the prairie in its purest form. Just as Mr. Shimerda was nostalgic for the "old country," Jim is nostalgic for his own youth on the prairie.
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