My Antonia

Pdf fan Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Mr. Shimerda's Grave Symbol Analysis

Mr. Shimerda's Grave Symbol Icon
When Mr. Shimerda dies, he is buried in the prairie on what later becomes a crossroads. Jim says of his gravesite, "in all that country it was the spot most dear to me" because when all of the land has been cleared for farming, this "island" where two roads meet is the only place where the tall prairie grass still grows undisturbed. The gravesite is a remnant of the prairie in its purest form, and it symbolizes Ántonia's and Jim's longing for the past.

Mr. Shimerda's Grave Quotes in My Antonia

The My Antonia quotes below all refer to the symbol of Mr. Shimerda's Grave. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Signet Classics edition of My Antonia published in 2014.
Book 1, Chapter 16 Quotes
The road from the north curved a little to the south; so that the grave, with its tall red grass that was never mowed, was like a little island; and at twilight, under a new moon or the clear evening star, the dusty roads used to look like soft grey rivers flowing past it. I never came upon the place without emotion, and in all that country it was the spot most dear to me."
Related Characters: Jim Burden (speaker), Mr. Shimerda
Related Symbols: The Prairie, Mr. Shimerda's Grave, Light
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:

Mr. Shimerda's funeral has taken place, and his body has been buried on a corner of the Shimerda's land. Jim remarks that years later, roads were built at that point, and the grave becomes the only site at which the grass isn't mowed. Jim describes his strong emotional attachment to the spot, claiming that it became the place he most loved in the entire prairie. This statement is at first a little surprising, as we would likely expect the grave to be a sad reminder of Mr. Shimerda's suffering and misfortune. However, Jim's description of the grave's natural beauty shows that the tragedy of Mr. Shimerda's death has created a new source of joy, by preserving a small section of land in its untamed state. 

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other My Antonia quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire My Antonia LitChart as a printable PDF.
My antonia.pdf.medium

Mr. Shimerda's Grave Symbol Timeline in My Antonia

The timeline below shows where the symbol Mr. Shimerda's Grave appears in My Antonia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 16
The Prairie Theme Icon
The Past Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 4
Friendship Theme Icon
The Prairie Theme Icon
The Past Theme Icon
Innocence and Maturity Theme Icon
...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... (full context)