My Antonia

My Antonia

by

Willa Cather

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My Antonia: Book 4, Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jim goes to visit the Widow Steavens, who tells Jim Ántonia's story. Ántonia was preparing for her wedding when she got a letter from Larry saying that his train route had been changed, and that they would have to live in Denver. Though unhappy about leaving Black Hawk, Ántonia went to Denver to be with Larry. Before she left, Ambrosch gave her $300 for a dowry, which he had saved from her wages earned by working on other people's farms.
Jim questioned why Ambrosch hired Ántonia out to other farms. He did not understand that Ambrosch needed to build a dowry for Ántonia in order to help her find a husband, a necessity for a poor immigrant woman.
Themes
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Ántonia wrote to tell her family that she had arrived safely in Denver. No further word came from her, however, until many weeks later when she suddenly showed up in Black Hawk, unmarried and upset. Larry had lied about his train changing routes. In fact, he had been fired, and used Ántonia for her dowry, then ran off to Mexico when the money ran out.
Larry takes advantage of Ántonia, exploiting her for her dowry. Whether by choice or by fate, Ántonia cannot leave the prairie. She is bound to Nebraska.
Themes
The Prairie Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Ántonia immediately began working in the fields and started wearing a man's baggy coat, boots, and hat. Because she wore these clothes, no one, including her family, realized she was pregnant until she gave birth to a baby girl, who is now two years old.
Ántonia wears men's clothes and resumes her work in the fields to disguise her pregnancy and the embarrassment she endured as a woman.
Themes
Gender Theme Icon
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