My Antonia

My Antonia


Willa Cather

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Mr. Shimerda's Grave Symbol Analysis

Mr. Shimerda's Grave Symbol Icon
When Mr. Shimerda dies, he is buried in the prairie on what later becomes a crossroads. Jim says of his gravesite, "in all that country it was the spot most dear to me" because when all of the land has been cleared for farming, this "island" where two roads meet is the only place where the tall prairie grass still grows undisturbed. The gravesite is a remnant of the prairie in its purest form, and it symbolizes Ántonia's and Jim's longing for the past.

Mr. Shimerda's Grave Quotes in My Antonia

The My Antonia quotes below all refer to the symbol of Mr. Shimerda's Grave. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Book 1, Chapter 16 Quotes
The road from the north curved a little to the south; so that the grave, with its tall red grass that was never mowed, was like a little island; and at twilight, under a new moon or the clear evening star, the dusty roads used to look like soft grey rivers flowing past it. I never came upon the place without emotion, and in all that country it was the spot most dear to me."
Related Characters: Jim Burden (speaker), Mr. Shimerda
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mr. Shimerda's Grave Symbol Timeline in My Antonia

The timeline below shows where the symbol Mr. Shimerda's Grave appears in My Antonia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 16
The Prairie Theme Icon
The Past Theme Icon
...that spot, and after all the prairie grass had been eventually cut up by farmers, the grave is the only place where the grass still grows. Jim says "in all that country... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 4
Friendship Theme Icon
The Prairie Theme Icon
The Past Theme Icon
Innocence and Maturity Theme Icon
...Ántonia at the Shimerda's farm. She is thinner and looks "worked down." They sit near Mr. Shimerda's burial plot , and Jim tells Ántonia how he plans to practice law in New York City... (full context)