The historical knowledge you gained from reading this book Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 21 April 2017

The historical knowledge you gained from reading this book

Reading literary works, such as stories, usually enables audiences to become exposed to historical facts that are described through such works. As a result of such exposure, readers benefit by gaining useful historical information which they would likely not have acquired through other means. In this connection, after reading Patricia MacLachlan’s Sarah, Plain and Tall book, I have thus gained useful insights regarding various historical concepts. For example, I have learned that 1800s children did not go to school everyday as today’s children do. Instead, the children sometimes took time off to assist in various farm chores such as planting. Anna and Caleb miss school to help Jacob in the farm.

In addition, I have determined that in the 19th century, expectant women were not taken to health institutions to give birth. Such women were instead required to give birth at home for lack of maternity services. Caleb’s mother dies die to this situation. After studying the text, I have also learned that in the 1800s, widowers were socially permitted to issue out notices that they were in need of life partners. Consequently, prospective wives-to-be would respond by writing back to the widower and explaining their circumstances. Afterwards, the potential wife would visit the prospective husband and live with him for a couple of days.

After spending some time with the potential husband, wife and husband would then determine if they are compatible. Having made a decision to live as wife and husband the potential husband would then inform the relevant church authorities. Afterwards, a wedding ceremony would be arranged to publicly unify the duo. This is what happens after Jacob loses his wife. On the other hand, reading MacLachlan’s book has made be to become aware that the people in the 1800s America did not have modern transport means. They therefore used animal-drawn vehicles for transport both within as well as outside the farm.

Sarah uses animal-drawn implements for transport in Maine. Conversely, my study of the book has made me to learn that 1800s rural Americans, lacking an alternative means of entertainment, used to sing together to pass the time. Both Sarah, as well as Jacob, sings with Anna and Caleb. In addition, I have learned that rural Americans in the nineteenth century used to dedicate their entire time working in the farms.

Related to this is the fact that these Americans solely relied on farm-derived produce for sustenance. This is the life that Jacob leads. Thanks to the book, I have also been made aware that 1800s American farmers employed horse-drawn farm implements to cultivate. Jacob uses a horse-drawn vehicle to undertake various farm operations. Consequently, I can state that MacLachlan’s Sarah, Plain and Tall book has really acted as an important eye-opener that has enabled me to learn many historical facts.

Use these 2 sets of the criteria statements and apply to the book.

The characters seem to be products of their own time and not modern individuals living in the past; their values, beliefs, and attitudes are faithful to historical period.

             The aforementioned statement is aptly reflected in the behavior and mannerisms that the characters in MacLachlan’s Sarah, Plain and Tall book portray. Through their conduct and dispositions, the various characters demonstrate that they are committed to preserving existing sociocultural values and practices. For example, after being rendered a widower following the death of his wife, Jacob adheres to tradition by publicly announcing that he is need of a wife. This act, that is completely alien at the moment, demonstrates that Jacob is dedicated to maintaining the existing practices.

            Similarly, Sarah demonstrates obedience to tradition by aptly responding to Jacob’s advertisement for a wife. She thus establishes a suitable communication channel (via letters) between herself and the Jacob family. In accordance with tradition, Sarah becomes acquainted with the Jacob household through correspondence. Eventually, she moves in with the new family and thus gets to know the members on a personal level. Sarah finally agrees to become Jacob’s wife as tradition dictates.

            Likewise, to demonstrate their dedication to cultural practices, the Jacob children – Anna and Caleb – perform the duties that are typical of 1800s American children. On her part, Anna cooks for the family using an open fire. In addition, the two children are depicted undertaking farm chores such as feeding the animals, arranging hay, and sweeping the homestead. Such activities denote the children as being faithful to tradition.

The historical setting is faithfully portrayed and gives us a clear sense of what it was like to live in that time period   

            It is true that MacLachlan has accurately depicted the reality of the 1800s rural American life. This concept is evident in the author’s description of the various characters’ lives. For instance, Sarah’s aunts in Maine do not wear shoes and thus walk barefoot.  This portrayal is a correct historical explanation of the rural nineteenth-century American life.

The author thus candidly describes the hardships that people endured without unnecessarily mincing words.  In addition, the fact that Anna and Caleb’s mother dies as a result of birth-related complications shows that American childbearing women suffered a lot during this period. MacLachlan thus presents the facts, be they bad or positive, as they were in the 1800s without seeking to sugarcoat issues. Further, the children describe their life in a vast open landscape, thus demonstrating the sparsely-populated nature of 1800s rural American landscape.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 21 April 2017

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