Thursday, November 9th, 2017...2:57 pmtarwatel

July on the Prarie

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Book 1 Ch 19 from Antonia’s perspective

It was July on the prairie, and the heat was relentless. During this time, I was confined to work in the kitchen with Mrs. Burden; however, my favorite part of the day was when, in the morning, Jim and I would go to the garden and collect vegetables for dinner. Despite Mrs. Burden’s insistence for me to wear a sunbonnet, I preferred to have my hair wildly blow in the wind with the morning sun beating down on my face.

“Oh, better I like to work out of doors than in a house!” I would exclaim to Jim. “I not care that your grandmother say it makes me like a man. I like to be like a man.”

I could tell Jim thought this was strange, but I didn’t care. The strength and independence this work gave me was empowering. I would even ask him to feel my muscles.

One stormy summer night, Jim and I went on the roof to watch the clouds. During the intense thunder, I couldn’t stop thinking about my father, his pain, and how much I longed for him to be there with us right now. In the summer heat, I  would dread winter, and the painful memories and hardships it would bring.

“Why are n’t you always nice like this, Tony?” Jim asked.

How nice?” I replied.

“Why, just like this; like yourself. Why do you all the time try to be like Ambrosch?”

Jim really couldn’t comprehend what it was like to be an immigrant in a country with absolutely nothing, and having to work for your family’s survival. I tried to articulate this to Jim in my broken English.

“Things will be easy for you. But they will be hard for us,” I replied. I hope he



  • I love how you went so in depth into Ántonia’s thoughts. I sometimes wonder why she left the farm for the city when she had such freedom there. I guess the money was better and the opportunity appealed to her, but the loss of freedom must have been rough for her.

  • This is a fascinating scene to explore from the opposite perspective. I think your changes are very effective in showing how differently characters can appear within a narrative depending on the views and experiences of a first-person narrator.

  •   Professor Seiler
    November 14th, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Lily–I’m with Kara and Melanie in appreciating your vision of this sequence from Antonia’s perspective. Her grasp of what Jim cannot–will not?–understand, and of his gendered frustration with Antonia as she grows, is just so spot-on. Nice work!

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