Jim begins to develop somewhat of a reputation himself. The townspeople question why Jim takes such an interest in the hired girls, but not the Black Hawk girls. Once the Vannis'dance tent leaves,Jim has nothing to do during the evenings. He becomes restless, and walks around town at night by himself. The drugstore, the cigar factory, and the depot are the only places where Jim can hang out; headmits that these places do not satisfy his thirst for action, or cure his depression. He believes that the well-lit houses conceal the hidden jealousy and anger of the townspeople.
Jim is tired ofseeing the same faces everywhere he goes. He decides to attend the Saturday night Firemen's Hall dances, where he sees most of the same faces from the Vannis' dance tent. In order for him to attend theFiremen's Hall dances, Jim must sneak out of the house. The hired girls are always at the dances; all the young men want to dance with Antonia and Lena.
Antonia often attends the dances with LarryDonovan, a train conductor. One night when Donovan is on a run, Jim walks Antonia home and asks to kiss her. Antonia is surprised when he kisses her more aggressively than she expects, and admonisheshim. She tells Jim not turn out like the other town boys, free and aggressive, for she has high hopes of him doing something great with his life. Antonia is proud of his success at school and will notallow him to throw his academic success away. She also seems a little jealous at the fact that Lena allows Jim to kiss her aggressively. She says:
"Now, don't you go and be a fool like some of thesetown boys. You're not going to sit around here and whittle store-boxes and tell stories all your life. You are going away to school and make something of yourself. I'm just awful proud of you" Book 2,Chapter 12, pg. 143.
Antonia and Lena are not only present in his daily activities, but also in his dreams. He has dreams of when he and Antonia were children, playing in the country. He has the...
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