Death of Mr. Shimerda

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Death of Mr. Shimerda
The immigrants faced many hardships when they came to America. The longing for their old lifestyles and having the language barrier often place them at high risk of committing suicide. In My Antonia, by Willa Cather, Mr. Shimerda was one of those unfortunate people. Many circumstances had led to his death, which had tremendous effect on his family and people around him.

Mr. Shimerda came to America with his family from Bohemia in order to start a new life. He and his wife had four children, two sons and two daughters. Ambrosch was 18, an eldest son and his brother, Marek, was youngest one. Antonia was Yulka’s big sister and they were a few years apart. When they first arrived in Nebraska in summer, they went through a lot of hardship. Mr. Shimerda hardly spoke any English and relied heavily on an interpreter for his family’s daily activities. Bad advices from the interpreter for purchase of homestead cost the family’s entire savings and finally they had to live in a dug-out or cave. When winter came, it made everything even worse. The farm the family owned had little hope to yield anything because Mr. Shimerda knew nothing about farming. “The land was growing rougher; I was told that we were approaching Squaw Creek, which cut up the west half of the Shimerdas' place and made the land of little value for farming”(Cather 20). He became growingly frustrated since this was not a life he would like his family to have. Only thing he could do was to hunt some rabbits to feed his family. He began missing his home country and talked less and less with his wife and children. In stead, he would rather to spend more time with his friends, Pavel and Peter. Later on, when Pavel died from his long battled illness and Peter left the town, Mr. Shimerda became so depressed that he stopped talking to people. Antonia noticed her father’s behavior, but could not do anything about it. She was the closest one to her dad in the family. She was so worried and...
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