What is Jim's view of the hired girls and the town girls in "My Antonia"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although the town girls are more highly respected socially than the hired girls, Jim feels that the hired girls are much more full of life and engaging than their pampered counterparts. 

Jim acknowledges that some of the town girls are "jolly and pretty", but because they avoid physical activity and shelter themselves from the elements whenever they can, he sees them as merely "faces in the schoolroom...cut off below the shoulders, like cherubs".  He notices that "when one danced with them, their bodies never moved inside their clothes; their muscles seemed to ask but one thing - not to be disturbed".

The hired girls, on the other hand, having "learned so much from life, from poverty," and having "been early awakened and made observant by coming at a tender age from an old country to a new", developed a "vigor (and) a positive carriage and freedom of movement (that) made them conspicuous among Black Hawk women".  Although the the hired girls are seen as being "unrefined" in comparison to the town girls, Jim thinks this attitude is "very stupid".  Jim sees the hired girls as vibrant, colorful individuals, whereas the vision of the general populace concerning these immigrant daughters is completely limited by inaccurate preconceptions and stereotypes (Book II, Chapter IX).

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My Antonia

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