My Antonia

My Antonia


Willa Cather

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My Antonia: Book 2, Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

The only break in the long winter occurs in March, when Blind d'Arnault, a Negro pianist, comes to Black Hawk. The townspeople gather at the Boys' Home hotel to listen. The scene is electric, and at one point d'Arnault senses the tapping of dancing feet in a room next to the parlor where he is playing. The door between the two rooms is opened, revealing Ántonia, Lena and Tiny dancing to the music. Though at first the girls are shocked to be discovered, the men in the hall convince the girls to come in and dance with them.
The discovery of the girls dancing is their debut as grown women in the town. No longer just girls, now they dance with men, a metaphor for their social and sexual maturity. This is also the first time Jim sees Ántonia with Lena and Tiny. Just as Jim had to make new friends among his peers when he moved into town, Ántonia has made friends with the other "hired girls" (immigrant girls hired to work for wealthier, established families).
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