This answer can be found in book 1 of My Antonia
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This is soon after Mr. Shimerda’s suicide. Jim and Antonia have grown a little distant. Jim is attending school and Antonia is forced to work extra hard on the farm to compensate for her father's death. As they sit and watch an electrical storm in the sky, Jim wonders why Antonia has changed. Antonia understands that Jim's future will be much brighter and easier than her own. Jim will go to school and then college while she will be in perpetual labour just trying to keep her family surviving.