British novelist W. Somerset Maugham wrote,
It is very difficult to know people. For, men and women are not only themselves, they are also the region in which they are born....You can know them only if you are them.
The environment in which one lives forms the person. When Jim Burden comes to Nebraska to live with his grandfather after losing both his parents, he learns of a family who have come from "across the water," the Bohemians named Shimerda. Jim teaches the girl Antonia how to speak English, and becomes friends with her. Together they begin to have a psychological connection with the landscape, and an awe of nature. For example in Book I Chapter 7, Jim narrates,
All those fall afternoons....As far as we could see, the miles of copper-red grass were drenched in sunlight that was stronger and fiercer than at any other time of the day. The blond cornfields were red gold, the haystacks turned rosy and threw long shadows. The whole prairie was like the bush that burned with fire and...
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