My Antonia and the Nebraska Landscape

My Antonia, written by Willa Cather, starts as ten-year-old Jim Burden along with a family of Bohemian immigrants (The Shimerda Family) are moving to Nebraska to start a new life.   Jim is moving because his parents have died and his closest relative lives in Nebraska; the Bohemian family is travelling on the same train because they have come to America to begin a new and better life.
The landscapes described in this book paint a spectacular picture of the Nebraskan prairie.   Throughout the novel, the characters create a safe, welcoming place that assists them in getting over their fears of moving to a new place.   The prairie accommodates the characters as they work through emotions and come to terms with the death of their parents, offers a comfortable sanctuary (a place that creates comfort where one goes to be with their own thoughts and feelings, with no judgment or expectations, where one can sort out the pain of a trauma or make sense of puzzling questions)   from homes far away, reflects the growth and maturity of the characters after being apart for an extended time, and reunites childhood friends on common ground.
Jim arrives in Black Hawk and is greeted by a farm hand from his grandparent’s farm who takes Jim by wagon to the farm.   Jim has time to think about his fear of moving to a new place and the loss of his parents along his journey. He sees that “there was nothing but land: not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made …I [Jim] had never looked up at the sky when there was not a familiar mountain range…but the complete dome of heaven...I left even their [his parents ] spirits behind…I felt erased, blotted out” (Cather, 12).   Jim was used to Virginia, with its rolling hills, mountains and populated landscapes.   On the prairie, there is nothing for miles and miles:   no houses, no people, no activity, no mountains.   Many people fear emptiness of the unknown. Jim’s thoughts indicate it is no different for him but at the same...