This novel about the friendship between two Nebraska children, Jim Burden and Antonia Shimerda is considered Cather`s masterpiece. The fortunes of the two families are opposed: the Burdens thrive while the Shimerdas decline, a downfall that culminates in the suicide of Antonia`s father, which forces the girl to work in the fields and then as a servant. Throughout all her trials, Antonia`s strength, humor, and goodness sustain her and her family--and Jim, for whom she is a lifelong inspiration and mentor. Willa Cather called this novel "the best thing I`ve done."
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