When Jim's grandmother discovers he has been sneaking out to the Fireman's Hall, she gets upset and Jim stops going to the dances. As a result, he is lonelier than ever. One spring evening he meets Frances Harling, and she scolds Jim for imagining "a kind of glamour" in the country girls like Ántonia. She tells Jim he is too much of a "romantic."
Frances doesn't dislike the country girls because they are poor, as other townspeople do. But she knows they are also not the idealized women Jim thinks they are, and that getting entangled with them will hurt both them and him.
At his graduation, Jim gives a speech that is very well received. His grandparents and the Harlings congratulate him. Afterward, he sees Ántonia on the street, and she tells him how proud she is of him, words that "pull on his heartstrings."
Jim has reached a turning point in his life and knows he will leave Black Hawk for college. He is nostalgic for his friendship with Ántonia, but he understands that they are not meant to have a future together.