In Chapter 4, Book 4 Cather uses imagery, simile, and personification to describe the sun and moon appearing in the sky simultaneously. She does this to foreshadow the imminent separation between Jim and Ántonia. During Jim and Ántonia's emotional farewell, the sun and moon "confront" each other on each side of the horizon:
As we walked homeward across the fields, the sun dropped and lay like a great golden globe in the low west. While it hung there, the moon rose in the east, as big as a cart-wheel, pale silver and streaked with rose colour, thin as a bubble or a ghost-moon. For five, perhaps ten minutes, the two luminaries confronted each other across the level land, resting on opposite edges of the world.
In this passage, the author uses tactile and visual sensory language to describe the sun and moon, making the reader feel the imaginary contrasts in their weight and texture. This language is also densely interlaid with similes. The sun is heavy, "dropping" like a "great golden globe" in the "low" west, while the moon is "thin as a bubble" or a "ghost," silver and streaked with "rose colour.” The sun and moon are portrayed as being opposite in colour, weight, direction, and height. They are so majestic in their opposition that they're personified, "confronting" each other like boxers squaring up for a fight. The horizon of the prairie is so vast that the "edges of the world" seem visible to Jim and Ántonia, and these two celestial bodies become the markers of that boundary in this scene.
As light always symbolizes change in this novel, the similes in this passage foreshadow an enormous alteration of Jim's circumstances. After the sun and moon appear simultaneously to him, he leaves his home for college and doesn't return to Black Hawk or Ántonia for 20 years.In Jim's memories throughout the novel, Ántonia is the central figure. The world of Black Hawk and the prairie around it seems unlimited in scope when he is with her. When he leaves shortly after this, he discovered the world is bigger than even Nebraska: in this scene, however, the prairie encompasses the whole universe.