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 Wed. Sept 28