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Character Analysis: Sara Crewe

2111 words - 8 pages

Throughout life we are challenged to overcome adversity. The way of coping with life’s obstacles depends on individual personality. In Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel, A Little Princess, the protagonist Sara Crewe transitions from living a prosperous life to an impoverished one after learning her beloved father has died and left her in financial ruin. She is moved from a luxurious room to a meager attic, her role in the boarding school changes from the show pupil to a scullery servant. However, she is strong and despite her pampered childhood, she bears her misfortunes bravely. Sara Crewe endures numerous hardships after being left in the care of Mrs. Minchin, but she perseveres and overcomes adversity with the support from her father, her rich imagination, and acting upon the Golden Rule. Burnett’s novel teaches a lesson of believing in yourself and maintaining hope even through the challenges in life.
Sara Crewe is portrayed as living in a world where nothing would harm her; she seems insufferable (Burnett I). She is the dearest treasure of her loving, and wealthy father who wanted Sara to be happy and comfortable at all times; she is surrounded by books, toys, and custom made clothes. When her father, Captain Crewe, says his goodbyes to Sara before leaving for war, he gives her the last doll as a present, and explains to her the purpose of the doll “Whenever you’re afraid or miss me terribly...just tell Emily. And she will get the message to me, wherever I am. And I’ll send it back right away...so that when you hug her...you’ll really be getting a hug from me “(Burnett 5). Sara and her “Papa” depend on one another for support and love. Emily, the doll, symbolizes the friendship and bond her father had with her. The doll connects them and guarantees that Sara’s thoughts and feelings would be shared with the one person she loved, her Papa.
Sara’s innocence quickly comes to an end when her father is killed in India. Her financial security is no longer certain and with her father gone there is nobody left in the world that she can rely upon. Burnett presents the common fear that many children which is the loss of both parents, followed by the struggle and survival (Barratt). Miss. Minchin, the director of the Miss. Minchin Select Seminary, took advantage of the situation. All of Sara’s accommodations were taken away, and she is banished to a tiny attic room. She has no choice but to carry out exhausting chores throughout the day and late at night; otherwise she is denied a meal. Sara, however, finds a positive outlook to endure these hardships. She willingly tries to do things as well as she can, in silence and never lamenting. Her heart grows proud yet aching, but as a strong young lady she knows she has to abide by the situation. Sara encouraged herself by remembering her father: “’I promised him I would bear it’ she said. ‘And I will. You have to bear things. Think what soldiers bear! Papa is a soldier .If there was a war he would have...

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