My Antonia Questions Book IV, V and Appendices

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Ch. 1-4 Book IV
1) What were Tiny's and Lena's achievements? How did they surpass the expectations of the Black Hawk residents? How did Tiny, in particular, challenge gender roles?
2) What is the irony of Tiny and Lena's success and Ántonia's perceived failure? Why couldn't Jim "forgive" her?
3) How do you interpret what happened to Ántonia? Why did she isolate herself and work in the fields when she came back?
4) What is the significance of Jim's statement that "the idea of you is a part of my mind; you influence my likes and dislikes, all of my tastes" (240, Ch. IV)?

Ch. 1-3 Book V
5) Why was Jim afraid to visit Ántonia after the years had gone by? Think back to the Introduction that described his adult life. What "illusions" do you think he has "parted with" in his own life?
6) What impressed him when he finally visited Ántonia? What did he mean that she "had not lost the fire of life"?
7) How is the apple orchard symbolic of Ántonia's life?
8) Why does Jim consider Ántonia a "rich mine of life, like the founders of early races" (261, Ch. 1)
9) What is the significance of the plans Jim makes with Ántonia's husband and boys? What does he mean that this visit gave him a "sense of coming home to myself" and he learned "what a little circle man's experience is" (273 Ch.III)?

Appendices
1) The letter was written by the real woman whom Willa Cather based the novel on. What insight does Anna Pavelka's letter shed on the fictional Ántonia and the novel as a whole?

My Antonia Questions for Monday

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Ch. 7-15 (Book II)
1. What adjectives does Jim use to describe the Black piano player? What is the significance of the language he uses?
2. Why would it be wrong for the girls to dance with the salesmen at the hotel? With the town men at the dance tent? What moral and religious assumptions are circulating regarding the dances and dancers?
3. What is Jim's opinion of the town girls? How does he contrast them with the country girls? Physically? Mentally? Emotionally?
4. Why wouldn't the "American farmers" let their daughters work? What were the perceived social class differences?
5. How did the Americans view the immigrants? Why wouldn't the Black Hawk boys date the immigrant girls? Why were the immigrant girls considered a "menace to the social order"?
6. How does Jim feel about the "American" boys? Why does he consider himself different?
7. Why doesn't Mrs. Harling want Ántonia to work for Wick Cutter? What were the characteristics that make him "old maidish" and "licentious"?
8. Why was Jim considered "queer" for his interest in Tony, Lena and the Mary's?
9. What was Jim's opinion of the Black Hawk townspeople in Ch. 12? Why did he refuse to join the Owl Club?
10. What is Jim's relationship with Tony in Ch. 12?
11. What does Ántonia reveal about her parents' early relationship in Ch. 14? How is it similar to her own circumstances?
12. What is the significance of the image of the plow in the sun to Jim and the girls?
13. Why was Jim angry at Ántonia after Wick Cutter tried to choke him? Why did he refuse to let anyone see him or hear about the story? How was his experience with Cutter like a woman's? How was it different?

My Antonia Questions for Friday

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Ch. 17-19 (Book I) and Ch. 1-6 (Book II)
1. Consider issues of gender roles. How did working in the fields change Ántonia in appearance and otherwise? Why do Jim and his grandmother disapprove?
2. What kind of chores did Ántonia do that would make the farmhands joke "in a nasty way"? (100, Ch. 17)
3. How was the feud between Jake and Ambrosch made into an issue about "foreigners"?
4. Why was Mrs. Shimerda's action kissing Mr. Burden's hand "Old World"? What does that mean and why was Mr. Burden embarrassed? (106, Ch 18)
5. How is Jim's life different from Ántonia's? What are the gender role and social class expectations in Jim's idea that Ántonia needs to be "nice" all the time?
6. When Jim moves to Black Hawk what are the activities that make him a "boy"? Why are these activities gendered male? Several female members of the Harling family cross gender roles? What makes them boyish or mannish? How does Jim view the Harling females' actions? Compare to how he views Ántonia working in the fields.
7. At the same time, how does working at the Harlings help Ántonia become more girlish? Why was this important? What does it mean that Mrs. Burden thought she had to "save" Ántonia?
8. Why was Mrs. Harling skeptical of Lina Lingard? How was Lina's life on the farm represented and why was she looked down upon?
9. Book II of the novel is titled "The Hired Girls." What does it tell us about the girls' status and how the townspeople view them?
10. What does the homeless man mean when he says "so it's Norwegians now, is it? I thought this was Americy"?

My Antonia Questions Wed. Sept 28

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Ch. 10-16
1. What were the Shimerda's circumstances in Bohemia and why did Mr. Shimerda want Ántonia to tell the Burdens?
2. What was Mrs. Burden's reaction to Mrs. Shimerda's mushrooms? How does it reflect sentiments about immigrants by the dominant culture? Why does she say the Shimerdas are "lacking in horse-sense" (64, Ch. 10 ) and what does this mean?
3. How does the narrator describe Mr. Shimerda in Ch. 12? What insight does this description give to his physical or emotional state?
4. What reaction did Mr. Shimerda have to the Burden's Christmas tree? What religion does Mr. Shimerda belong to and how did Mr. and Mrs. Burden respond to his actions? Why does Jim say that "there had been nothing strange about the tree, but now, with someone kneeling before it..." (72, Ch. 12)?
5. What does the disagreement between Jim and Ántonia tell us about Jim's attitudes toward the immigrants? What does his grandmother understand that he doesn't?
6. What are the religious beliefs about Mr. Shimerda's death that are explained in Ch. 14? What does Jim imagine about Mr. Shimerda and how does his feeling cohere with Ambrosch's beliefs about Purgatory?
7. What was the controversy about burying Mr. Shimerda in Ch. 15? How did Mrs. Burden respond to the Protestant's decision? What was her idea and how is it significant?
8. What does Mrs. Burden mean when she says that a hymn would "seem less heathenish" (93, Ch. 16)? What does this reveal about her beliefs?
9. What sentiment does Jim carry with him about the burial place? Why do you think he feels this way? What does he mean by "I loved the spirit that would not carry out the sentence" (94, Ch. 16)?

My Antonia Questions Part I

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1. What does the introduction suggest about Jim Burden's character and how he contributes to the novel?

2. What are Jim's impressions of the plains upon his arrival and throughout these first chapters? How does the landscape compare or contrast with his former home in Virginia? What is the significance of his view of the plains?

3. Read carefully the descriptions of Jim's grandparents house. What does it tell us about their status and situation? Why are the kitchen and dining room in the basement? How do you imagine the Shimerda's sod house compares with the Burden's?

4. Consider the various descriptions of the immigrants (The Russians, the Shimerdas, and others) in these chapters. How are the different immigrant groups viewed by the Burdens and Jake (European Americans)? How are the immigrants viewed by other immigrants (commonalities or conflicts)?

5. What are the character differences between Antonia's mother and father?
What kind of life can you infer the Shimerda's lived in Bohemia?

6. What interests you most about the novel to this point?

For Wednesday, read the section in A Pocket Style Manual as noted on the Reading and Assignment Schedule. Use the suggestions on integrating sources and evidence as you begin to write.

Bring a hard copy (1-1/2 to 2 pages, typed and double-spaced) rough draft of the first half of your paper to class. Begin by writing an introduction and include your revised thesis at the end of the introduction.

Choose the best evidence from the readings to support the ideas in your thesis. Find several different examples to support each element of the thesis. Then write 3-4 fully developed paragraphs in the order which best addresses the ideas in your thesis.

Paragraphs should include the following elements:
1) A topic sentence that introduces the main point you will make in the paragraph.
2) An Introduction of the source (author and title of article the first time you refer to that source) and background information about the evidence that the reader needs to know to understand the evidence
3) Then, present the specific evidence or a brief quotation.
4) Finally, analyze how the evidence supports your thesis.

As you write, consider your audience to be someone who has not read the articles and who needs full explanations of ideas. Remember the reader cannot read your mind so you need to present ideas in a logical fashion and fill in the gaps for the reader.

Be sure to save your writing on a flash drive or send it to yourself by e-mail because we will be working on the writings in class.

Finally, bring both the Pocket Style Manual and the course packet to class so you can refer to them as you are revising.

Comparison/Contrast Writing for Wednesday

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For Wednesday, read the section in A Pocket Style Manual as noted on the Reading and Assignment Schedule. Use the suggestions on integrating sources and evidence as you begin to write.

Bring a hard copy (typed and double-spaced) rough draft of the first half of your paper to class. Begin by writing an introduction and include your revised thesis at the end of the introduction.

Choose the best evidence from the readings to support the ideas in your thesis. Find several different examples for each element of the thesis. Then write 3-4 fully developed paragraphs in the order which best addresses the ideas in your thesis.

Paragraphs should include the following elements:
1) A topic sentence that introduces the main point you will make in the paragraph.
2) An Introduction of the source (author and title of article the first time you refer to that source) and background information about the evidence that the reader needs to know to understand the evidence
3) Then, present the specific evidence or a brief quotation.
4) Finally, analyze how the evidence supports your thesis.

As you write, consider your audience to be someone who has not read the articles and who needs full explanations of ideas. Remember the reader cannot read your mind so you need to present ideas in a logical fashion and fill in the gaps for the reader.

Be sure to save your writing on a flash drive or send it to yourself by e-mail because we will be working on the writings in class.

Thesis Writing

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Bring a written thesis statement to class on Monday.

To write a strong thesis:
1) Read the article on Irish immigration and add to your comparison and contrast list.

2) Reread the German and Swedish immigration articles and analyze the types of similarities and differences that exist among all three groups.

3) Synthesize this information into one or two main ideas that characterize the overall experience of immigration described in all of the articles.

4) Create an argument/thesis statement that tells the reader what you think are the most significant ideas in the articles.

5) Use specific information, rather than vague ideas. The more specific the better.

You may want to use an "Although" clause to allow for differences or contrasts among the groups or discrepancies in expectations. Example: Although all of the immigrants desired..., what they found when they arrived....

Online grammar exercises instructions

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Dear Students,

It may not be clear on the assignment schedule, but the readings in A Pocket Style Manual include doing the online grammar exercises.

First, go to the website . Then click on "Student" under "Register" on the right hand side and enter the requested information. Registration insures that you can access your scores and exercises in the future.

Important Note When Registering: Be sure to enter my e-mail address: blakedj@umn.edu, so that the program allows me to access your exercises and scores.

Next click on Grammar exercises, then Clarity and then the exercise number. As stated on the Assignment Schedule, do the exercise sets for sections 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9 in the Clarity chapter. For example, there will be a set of 10 questions in each exercise labeled, 1-1, 1-2, 1-3...; 2-1, 2-2, 2-3...; 7-1, 7-2, 7-3... etc. Be sure to save each set of exercises before you proceed to a new section.

To move to a new question, click on the orange arrow next to the exercise number (1 out 10, 2 out of 10, etc.) Finally, be sure to read the explanations for why you got the answer wrong or right so you understand the rationale behind the grammar rule.

I will extend the deadline to Friday to complete the exercises but please read and bring the book to class tomorrow.

Wednesday's Analysis

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Because we discussed the laws for the first two periods of immigration at length in class, I would like you to focus on the last two periods in your written analysis. I've listed the dates for the four major periods of immigration below. Focus your writing on who exactly the laws affected and how the laws contributed to the make-up of the U.S. population after they were enacted.

1. Colonization through 1840
2 1840-1869
3. 1870-1929
4. 1965-1997