A Diary based on My Antonia (From the Perspective of Jim Burden)
I suppose it is time to look back, and record some amazing things that have happened in my life. I should start this entry with my moving to Nebraska.
After my parents died, I have moved to my grandparents’ farm near Black Hawk, Nebraska, where I met the Shimerdas. I heard the the Shimerdas’ trip was difficult because of language conflict and some cheaters. Further, it is always difficult to move to a new land, for whatever reason. I should know. The only reason why it was not too difficult for me as it was for the Shimerdas is because I moved to live with my loving grandparents, who already knew much about the place. I knew early on that I was luckier because my grandparents would surely help me adjust.
Nebraska is untamed, much unlike any other place familiar to me and my friends. It is very difficult for the Shimerdas and they are encountering great hardships. That is why Mr. Shimerda was thankful when he met two Ukrainians, Peter and Pavel. They have a fascinating but terrifying story: they ran away from Ukraine after wolves attacked a party they were enjoying. Surely, it was scary.
Still, the challenges faced by the Shimerdas continued to worsen. So my grandparents and I really tried to help them out, especially on their first ever winter in Nebraska.
Eventually, Mr. Shimerda committed suicide. It caused me much sadness. According to the adults, Mr. Shimerda died of homesickness. I never knew that people could kill themselves because of loneliness. Later on, I learned something else: that a person’s religion can affect the way in which a dead person would be buried.
After Mr. Shimerda died, Antonia’s life became so different. I thought the possibilities for her future, as well as for education, have become so limited. I also couldn’t imagine how she would find work. Consequent to her farm labor, Antonia has become much stronger. Her personality has changed and she became so hardened by all her experience.
Later on, when my grandparents’ age started to really take its toll them, we all moved to the city of Black Hawk. We wanted to do away from the farm and country because my grandparents were not getting any younger, and surely, they needed a more comfortable way to live. But we did not want to forsake Antonia. So she was part of our concern.
My grandparents helped Antonia to also move to Black Hawk as a worker. She would be the hired house helper of the Harlings family. The Harlings lived just next to our place. I was glad that Antonia found such a job, because it allowed Antonia to be free from the difficulties in the farm. It is also proper for Antonia to Antonia to develop some skills in household chores. Indeed, I was happy that Antonia’s life and lifestyle were getting better.
Life gets a little bit more different with the visit of Lena Lingard. She is from Norway. She visited Antonia and the Harlings, and later on made an impact on our lives although she was hired to assist only in dressmaking.
Later on, Antonia became a hired girl. I enjoyed dancing, too. However, it did not go very well for Antonia. Her being a hired girl, brought her some troubles, and later on she had to leave the Harlings. She moved to the family home of the Cutters.
At the time, the hired girls become close friends of Jim, because I loved dancing. The hired girls wanted to persuade me to pursue some intellectual and professional career; but then, I thought it was more fun to enjoy myself at the dances.
Antonia and I recently looked back to our life back in the country. We talked about her father, and the years when we were younger. I told Antonia that I was very sure that her father’s spirit had gone back to Bohemia after his death. I really thought so.
Finally, I graduated from high school and I am now preparing to go to college. I should write a commencement address, and I wanted it to be full of meaning. I wanted to be able to share my thoughts, by telling others about my life. How do I begin this commencement address?
I wanted to talk about the success I’ve had in my emotional journeys, because these journeys will benefir not just me, or Antonia, but the people our age. I think there is no better way to do this than to mention the one person who has changed my life since I moved to Nebraska after my parents’ death.
I will dedicate my speech to Antonia’s father. I hope she will like it.
From now on, I will be updating this diary of things that would come to unfold.