Being consumed by one's surroundings results in an impressionable experience. Taking a deep breath of fresh air, admiring a breathtaking view, and watching the sizzling sunset evoke emotions. Willa Cather effectively evokes emotions in the reader, in order to relate to the characters' feelings, by providing vivid descriptions of the setting, as well as through the reactions of Jim.
From the start of the novel to the very end, descriptions of the Jim's environment reflect his feelings. Jim, being sent away, comments:
I do not remember crossing the Missouri River, or anything
about the long day's journey through Nebraska. Probably by
that time I had crossed so many rivers that I was dull to
them. The only thing very noticeable about Nebraska was
that it was still all day long, Nebraska. (Cather, 10)
Immediately, Jim's detachment to his surroundings suggest his loneliness. The "dull" sights and the "long" journey also imply that Jim has been through many hardships after losing his parents. The absence of a home, in addition to his uncertainty, Jim continues to ignore his environment.
There was nothing but land: not a country at all but the
material out of which countries are made... I had the feeling that the world was left behind, that we had got over the
edge of it, and were outside man's jurisdiction. I had never before looked up and at the sky when there was not a
familiar mountain ridge against it. (Cather, 12)
Jim begins to feel the absence of his parents, as well, as he is truly expressing that he feels left behind by his parents in a barren, unfamiliar, place. It seems as though Jim lost the world and does not care to return to it. At this point, the reader begins to pity Jim, wanting to comfort him while adding to the setting "in a little room, scarcely larger than the bed that held me, and the window-shade at my head was flapping softly in a warm wind," (Cather 14). Once awaken in his grandparents' house, Jim is...