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?