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The Inability to Provide for His Family and Why it Drove Mr Shimerda to Suicide My Antonia by Willa Cather is a novel about Jim Burden and his relationship and experiences growing up with Antonia Shimerda in Nebraska Throughout the book Jim reflects on his memories of Nebraska and the Shimerda family often times in a sad and depressing tone One of the main ways Cather is able to provoke these sad emotions within the reader is through the suicide of Antonias father Mr Shimerda His death was unexpected by everyone and it is thought that homesickness is what drove him to take his own life Homesickness was surely felt by Mr Shimerda as it was by many but it was the failure to adequately find a way to provide for his family that sent Mr Shimerda into a depressing downward spiral that left him no foreseeable alternative but to take his own life The first descriptions of Mr Shimerda are that of a successful businessman that had always provided well for his family I noticed how white and well-shaped his own hands were They looked calm somehow and skilled His eyes were melancholy and were set back deep under his brow His face was ruggedly formed but it looked like ashes - like something from which all the warmth and light had dried out Everything about this old man was in keeping with his dignified manner 24 Mr Shimerda was indeed a prosperous man in Bohemia but had made his living in the business world not by running a farm to provide for his familys needs His hands show that he rarely performed hard manual labor but that he did work hard with his hands to weave His face however shows signs that he was already having doubts about the welfare of his family and their survival The apparent glow that he must have once had was now replaced by the
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