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Jim's first impression of the Nebraska frontier is that it is extremely vast and empty. He feels like he is leaving civilization, and he is. Everything that happens to him in Nebraska will be a new experience, and he will have to learn new rules and codes of conduct. He is leaving his past completely, and he will have to become an entirely new person in the country. For this reason, he feels "erased" and "blotted out" as he travels on the wagon to his grandfather's house.