book 1 chapter 10-14
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I think he sees just how much Antonia has sacrificed for the family and the hopes, somewhat misguided, that they had for Ambrosch. He sees how strong Antonia is and what she must endure. Though the novel is set around the turn of the twentieth century, Jim is surprised that the Shimerda family revolves around Ambrosch, the oldest son. Even though it is customary at this points in American history for sons to be given all of life's opportunities, he seems to think it remarkable that Ántonia defers to her brother.