When school is out in midsummer, Jim and Ántonia spend more time together. One night Jim and Ántonia climb to the roof to watch a distant lightning storm. As they watch, Jim asks Ántonia why she can't be "nice" all the time and instead tries so hard to be like Ambrosch. Ántonia responds that things will never be as easy for her or her family as they are for Jim and his family.
Ántonia has gained an adult's awareness of class differences, which Jim does not yet understand. Jim nostalgically yearns for the simple friendship they shared in childhood, but Ántonia knows their differences will make this impossible.