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Birdy Called Essay

1669 words - 7 pages

I. Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman.
Genre – Historical Fiction
II. Catherine, Called Birdy is depicted within Medieval England throughout the years of 1290 through 1291. Catherine lives as a daughter of a country knight, “…daughter of Lord Rollo and the lady Aislinn” (Cushman 202). While she may be the daughter of a knight, she is nothing close to rich. She has to do horrid housework, including sewing, cooking, embroidering, stitching, as well as many more. “[Catherine], trapped inside, spent two hours embroidering a cloth for the church and three hours picking out [her] stitches after [her] mother saw it” (Cushman 1). The reason for this hard work is due to ...view middle of the document...

Dictated as the antagonist, Catherine’s father, Lord Rollo of Stonebridge is a poor country knight that forces his own daughter to do the dirty housework of their castle. He owns “nothing but two small manors” (Cushman 5), and follows the normal routine of fathers at the time; to wed their daughters at a young age to a man of a wealthy position. This was done in order to counteract the impoverished position some may be in. To a reader, he is seen as overprotective, hateful, and greedy. This is similar to his daughter, Catherine, who views him as a “greedy father [who] is near muzzle-witted with glee from the geese, silver pennies, and wagonloads of manure [his] tenants pay him [for rent]” (Cushman 9). In addition, Little Bird depicts him as a man with a big belly from all of the ale he guzzles down. Seen throughout the work, he also enjoys hitting her whenever she does something even remotely against his enjoyment. “[Catherine’s] father’s crack still rings my head” (Cushman 8).
IV. As the diary began, the exposition began along with it. The exposition details the main characters, as well as the time, place, and social background. The reader is introduced to Catherine, a daughter of a poor country knight that lives a religious Christian life. Her brother has began forcing her to write a narrative of her daily life in order to keep her educated and less childish. “[Catherine is] commanded to write an account of [her] days…[she is] plagued by family” (Cushman 1). The inciting incident begins once Catherine’s father introduces the first suitor he wishes for her to marry. She is immediately nauseated by this and attempts any way she can to stop it. “[Catherine] rubbed [her] nose until it shone red, black out [her] front teeth with soot, and dressed [her] black hair with the mouse bones [she] found under the rushes in the hall” (Cushman 8). Catherine uses this tactic in order to scare away the wanting suitor from marrying her. Seemingly, it worked as the suitor never returned to wed her later on. Continuing the plot, the rising action begins immediately after the first suitor. Catherine begins to rebel, as she does not enjoy this lack of freedom within her household. She continues to fear future suitors in order to stay away from becoming married to an older man she dislikes. “[Catherine is] a goodly lady, given that her wits are lacking and her back stooped. Mostly she is gentle and quiet, when she is not locked up. And the pits on her face are much better now” (Cushman 22). This is where Catherine lies to a wandering knight, looking for Catherine’s father in order to have a possibility at marrying Catherine. Instead, she drives him away by scaring when describing a horrendous girl.
As the plot continues to develop, the crisis begins with the introduction of “Shaggy Beard” (Cushman 110). Shaggy Beard is described by Catherine in a very demeaning way, “[Shaggy Beard] was a pig, which dishonors pigs” (Cushman 109). The sight of...

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