Jim and his grandparents befriend their new neighbors, the Harlings, who are Norwegians. Mr. Harling is a successful grain merchant, and his family is wealthy. Charley, the son closest to Jim's age, is preparing for the Naval Academy, and the oldest daughter, Frances, is Mr. Harlings' chief clerk. Jim notes that she is never cheated in a business deal.
The Harlings are an example of an immigrant family who have overcome the initial hardships of immigrant life and built a life full of opportunities for themselves and their children. Frances is an example of strong woman.
After the Harling's cook leaves them, Jim's grandmother convinces Mrs. Harling to hire Ántonia. They do, and intend to pay Ántonia well, including an allowance for her clothing. But Ambrosch insists all Ántonia's money should go directly to him.
Although Ántonia has proven herself in "man's work," she still has a woman's limited rights, and must defer to her male guardian.