Jim Burden Character Analysis

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In My Ántonia, Jim Burden’s misfortune of losing his parents lead him to Nebraska, where he met the people that would change his perspective on life. If that tragedy would never have happened, Jim would not have gained a deeper understanding of everyday people, such as Ántonia and her family. One of the first people Jim meets, his grandmother, shows him how generosity and kindness can make a significant impact in someone’s life. The reader initially recognizes how thoughtful Emmaline Burden is when she goes to greet the neighbors with bread, butter, and pies (Walton 21). This was the first, but definitely not the last time she showed such hospitality to the Shimerdas. Jim firsthand experienced how kindhearted his grandmother just by the way she treated him. Jim talks about how she would give them as much chicken as they could eat, as well as pies or cakes everyday (Walton 54). His grandmother, although lavishly treating her own family, realized not all families…show more content…
Shimerda is unlike Jim’s other role models in the fact that his impact had more of an effect postmortem. Jim witnessed just how joyful Mr. Shimerda could be when he visited during Christmas, where everyone “had a sense of his utter contempt”. This provides great contrast for when Ántonia explains how upset her father had been to leave Bohemia and how he had not found that same happiness in Nebraska (Walton 74). Everything seems to connect when Mr. Shimerda takes his own life, and Jim realizes “Mr. Shimerda could not have been rich and selfish; he had only been so unhappy that he could not live any longer” (Walton 83). His death seems to have an immense effect on Jim, as he realizes how different his own life was from Mr. Shimerda’s. The reader can see how sentimental Jim gets about Mr. Shimerda’s when describes his grave, “I never came upon the place without emotion, and in all that country it was the spot most dear to me” (Walton 94). This experience causes Jim to appreciate life and everyone in
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