My Antonia

reflecting on the past

Jim Burden narrates the novel. why do you think the past has a special place in his heart?

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The past is what shaped Jim Burden. It is perhaps ironic that, after he left Nebraska, his past takes on more meaningful qualities. The story is framed with a train journey from New York City back to the wilds of Nebraska. There is a nostalgic tone as Jim recounts his connection with the Nebraskan landscape and then to Antonia. His childhood experiences seem to have shaped his thoughts and personality. It becomes evident that New York was more an exile than a home for Jim Burden. Jim feels an inner need to return to his roots and the spell that Antonia had cast him.