Saturday, November 11th, 2017...9:52 pmmudds

The Snake

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(Page 22 in my copy)

As we examined the hole with two entrances, I decided to take a look to the left of me, to a large rock just outside of arms reach. The sight which greeted me chilled me to my core and I couldn’t help but let out a scream of terror. Laying there on the rock was one of the largest snakes I had ever seen. I could see its beady black eyes piercing me, and I felt goosebumps rising across my arms and my hair stood on end. My first instinct was to run, but I knew that if I moved, the snake would strike. I wanted to call to Jim, to warn him the snake was there, but all that came out was an “Oh my God” in Bohemian. Jim whirled around and after a moment of absolute stillness, he rushed forward and beat the snake to death with a savagery that I had not seen him display before. It both scared and awed me, that Jim would become a completely different person in order to protect me. Unbidden, tears came to my eyes as I went to him,

“O Jimmy, he not bite you? You sure? Why you not run when I say?”

Still in a foul mood, he rounded on me, “What did you jabber Bohunk for? You might have told me there was a snake behind me!”

“I know, I am just awful, Jim,” I sobbed. “I was so scared.” I tried to wipe his face with his handkerchief, as he looked unwell, but he snatched it from my grasp and began to do it himself. Hiding my hurt, I tried my best to comfort him, “I never know you was so brave, Jim. You is just like big mans; you wait for him to lift his head and then you go for him. Ain’t you scared a bit? Now we take that snake home and show everybody. Nobody ain’t seen in this kawntreee so big snake like you kill.”


  • I like how you portrayed Antonia’s fascination with Jim in this scene. While she usually is quite condescending toward him, her attitude toward him changes in this scene. Despite her usual strength, she relies on Jim in this scene, which is a turning point in their friendship.

  • What do you think Ántonia thought of the term “Bohunk”? Would she be less likely to be offended by the term because of her relationship with Jim and the situation, or did she just not find it offensive because of the time period? Do you think she would say something about the term in a different, less stressful situation?

  •   Professor Seiler
    November 14th, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Sayahn, I’m with Lily in appreciating your depiction of how Antonia’s view of Jim changes here… at the same time, it strikes me that in your experiment with p.o.v., Antonia sees Jim more as less as he would want her to. As for Kara’s question: what do you make of Jim resorting to this slang derogation of Antonia’s language and heritage in a moment of crisis?

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