My Antonia

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My Antonia Book 1, Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jim's grandmother wakes him the following afternoon. He is confused by the layout of the house, with the living room and bedrooms on the ground floor and the kitchen and dining room in the basement. Still, he is comforted by his grandmother's warmth and affection, and by the smells of supper.
Jim's confusion in the house shows his continued foreignness to the prairie and prairie life. Yet it's also clear to him already that his grandparents will offer him familial support, and that he'll be comfortable here.
Themes
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
The Prairie Theme Icon
Otto tells Jim his grandparents have bought him a pony, and tells Jim he will show him how to rope a steer the next day. When Jim's grandfather comes home, he calls Jake, Otto, and Jim for prayers and then reads them several Psalms. Jim is awed by his grandfather's "sympathetic" voice, and the quiet dignity and wisdom with which he reads.
Jim's life won't just be comfortable—it'll be exciting. After one day he gets a pony and learns to rope steers! The way Jim's grandfather reads the Psalms establishes him as kind, wise, pious, and virtuous, though also a bit distant.
Themes
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
The Prairie Theme Icon
The next morning, Jim explores the farm and sees the windmill, cornfields, and pig-yards. He learns that his grandparents' house is the only wooden house in the area. The others are made of sod. His grandmother takes him to the garden to dig potatoes. He stays after she leaves and he lies in the garden under the sun. He realizes that he feels "entirely happy."
The Burdens' wooden house reveals that they are more wealthy than their immigrant neighbors. Jim's transition to prairie life is quick—as the image of him lying in the garden under the sun implies, he already feels a part of the land.
Themes
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
The Prairie Theme Icon