When Ántonia meets Jimmie Burden for the first time, she grabs his hand and they run at top speed out to the Squaw Creek. They arrive there breathless, and Ántonia’s little sister runs with them. Her name was Yulka. Antonia wanted to give Jimmie a silver ring she wore on her middle finger. Jimmie insisted he wouldn’t take the ring. He didn’t want it. In his words he felt, “there was something reckless and extravagant about her wishing to give it away to a boy she had never seen before.”
Willa Cather, masterfully develops character, plot and movement in the course of her novel, My Ántonia. Her choice of words describe who the character are, what they are like physically, what they are wearing and every physical attribute, which helps to define their character. Their personality is defined by the way they speak and interact with other characters and the way they respond to their environment. In turn the setting is described with a highly selective and sumptuous vocabulary.