My Antonia

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The Prairie Symbol Icon
The prairie symbolizes many things in My Ántonia. To immigrants, the vast size of the prairie suggests both the opportunity for a new life and the overwhelming fear that goes with trying to create a new life. The prairie also symbolizes progress and a lost past: as the prairie is developed, its old, winding roads are replaced by straight ones, and the tall grasses are burned down to make room for farmland. Later, when Jim leaves Nebraska, the prairie symbolizes Jim's friendship with Ántonia and his nostalgia for his childhood.
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The Prairie Symbol Timeline in My Antonia

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Prairie appears in My Antonia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 1
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
The Prairie Theme Icon
...Before he falls asleep during the ride to his grandparents farm, Jim sees the Nebraska prairie for the first time. He feels "blotted out" by the wide-open spaces and the huge... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 16
The Prairie Theme Icon
The Past Theme Icon
...that years afterward, roads were built that crossed at that spot, and after all the prairie grass had been eventually cut up by farmers, the grave is the only place where... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 14
Friendship Theme Icon
The Prairie Theme Icon
The Past Theme Icon
Innocence and Maturity Theme Icon
...flowers. Jim arrives early and realizes how much he's missed the vivid colors of the prairie. (full context)
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
The Prairie Theme Icon
The Past Theme Icon
Innocence and Maturity Theme Icon
...sun is setting, Jim, Ántonia and the other girls see a black figure on the prairie magnified by the red sun sinking behind it. They realize that the figure is a... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 1
The Prairie Theme Icon
The Past Theme Icon
...instructor named Gaston Cleric. He rents a room on the edge of town near the prairie and stays in Lincoln his first summer to take a course in Greek. (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 1
The Past Theme Icon
Innocence and Maturity Theme Icon
...has married a man named Cuzak, a cousin of Anton Jelinek, moved back to the prairie, and now has 11 children. At one point, he hears from Tiny, who describes Ántonia's... (full context)