The next day, Jim goes to see Ántonia at the Shimerda's farm. She is thinner and looks "worked down." They sit near Mr. Shimerda's burial plot, and Jim tells Ántonia how he plans to practice law in New York City and that Cleric has recently died. She responds that she would rather live "where all the ground is friendly."
Jim and Ántonia shared a love of the prairie, but Jim allowed himself to be diverted into a life of "success," as it would be defined by the "refined" people of Black Hawk. Ántonia stayed true to her love—the land.
Jim then tells Ántonia that he thinks of her more often than anyone else, and that she is a part of him. She responds that she will always remember him and will tell her daughter about their youth together. They walk home, and Jim wishes he could be a little boy again.
Jim has a lucrative career ahead of him as a lawyer. But it's his past, the prairie, and Ántonia, that he loves. But he loves all three in an idealized static way, wishing things could be as they were when he was a boy, instead of loving them in the present.