March By Geraldine Brooks Pulitzer Prize English Literature Essay

Note to readers: A this is a chapter-by-chapter secret plan outline and contains spoilers.A If this is n’t what you want, delight travel to theA reappraisal ( no spoilers ) of March.A MarchA is a terrific book, and I urge you to read it for yourself. ( Brought to you by kat )

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Book Summary: A Mr. March ( the absent male parent in Louisa May Alcott ‘s novelLittle Women ) about destroys his matrimony when he volunteers to function in the Civil War as a Union chaplain, so about destroys his wellness when working with Union “ contraband ” ( freed slaves turning cotton on freed plantations for the Union war attempt ) . His married woman Marmee must get the better of her deep bitterness towards him after his idealistic dreams are shattered, and give him a ground to populate.

Fictional characters:

Mr. March, idealistic 40 year-old vegetarian, Unitarian curate, and abolitionist.A ( The writer based March on Bronson Alcott, real-life male parent of Louisa May Alcott who wroteLittle WomenA – except that Bronson Alcott was excessively old to hold fought in the Civil War. )

March ‘s married woman Margaret Marie, known as “ Marmee. “ A

Grace Clement, the beautiful slave who becomes a nurse.A

Ethan Canning, the Illinois attorney who leases Oak Landing plantation.A

Jesse, Zannah, Jimse, Ptolemy, and Zeke who are freed slaves at Oak Landing.

Puting: A war scenes in Virginia, domestic scenes in Concord, Massachusetts. Oak Landing scenes at an unspecified location near the Mississippi river, infirmary scenes in Washington DC.A

Time period: A 1861 to late 1862/early 1863, and flashbacks to 10 to 20 old ages old.

Title: A MarchA refers to Mr. March, the chief character, but could besides mention to a military March.

Point of view: A First-person and past tense. It ‘s Mr. March from Chapters 1 through 13, and Chapters 18 and 19.A Marmee gets a first-person point of view in Chapters 14 through 17.

Part One ( Mr. March ‘s point of view )

Chapter 1: A Mr. March sits down under a treeA and writes Marmee a flowery letter.A His unit has pulled back to be given to their wounded after about acquiring wiped out by Confederate military personnels at the conflict of Ball ‘s Bluff in Virginia. He feels guilty about keep backing the truth from Marmee of his atrocious circumstances.A He remembers how the Confederate military personnels shot up his fellow soldiers, and thinks of a companion Silas Stone whom he allow submerge in the river in order to salvage himself.A He walks down the route to a plantation house that the Union ground forces is utilizing as a field infirmary, and realizes that he knows the topographic point: he was at that place 22 old ages ago.

Chapter 2: A Mr. March remembers being an 18 year-old pedlar of kitchen bangles and geting at the plantation house, trusting to do a sale. A immature house-slave named Grace opens the door ; he is struck by her beauty and educated, refined address. She invites him into the kitchen where he makes friends with Annie, the cook.A Cipher wants his bangles, but his little aggregation of books wins him an debut to the maestro, Augustus Clement.A Mr. Clement has a immense library, a luxury for those times. Mr. March disapproves of bondage ; even so, he and Mr. Clement bond strongly over the books and Mr. Clement invites Mr. March to populate at the plantation every bit long as he likes.

Mr. March stays for a year.A Mrs. Clement is an invalid, and Grace is her personal slave. The Clement boy travels on plantation concern for his male parent. Aside from Mr. Clement, March is most comfy with Annie the cook, a widow with two beautiful kids. One dark he starts learning her girl Prudence how to read. Horrified, Annie and Grace tell him that it ‘s illegal to learn slaves to read.A ( Grace is an exclusion. ) A

However, Grace, with whom he has already shared a out buss, asks Mr. March to learn Prudence in secret.A He agrees.A But he ‘s found out by Harris, the plantation director. Grace claims duty, trying to protect Annie and Prudence. Mr. Clement makes Mr. March watch Harris give Grace a whipping as penalty, and so kicks him off the plantation.A

Chapter 3: A ( Brought to you by kat ) A Mr. March, now back inA the Clement house in the present, helps the impatient sawbones tend to the wounded.A He runs into Grace who is still populating at that place, be givening to the ailing Mr. Clement.A Grace remembers Mr. March heartily, and helps him with the wounded.

She catches him up on everything that ‘s happened: A while March made a luck as a pedlar and so became a Unitarian curate and emancipationist, the Clement household suffered a crisp diminution. Mrs. Clement died. The boy got killed in a hunting accident.A Mr. Clement sold Annie ‘s childs further south, and Annie drowned herself in the river. Mr. Clement ‘s wellness disintegrated.A Harris left, and worse directors ran the plantation into the land. Grace herself hardly escaped being sold as a cocotte: merely the disfiguring cicatrixs on her dorsum from the long-ago whipping saved her.

Mr. March asks why Grace remains with Mr. Clement when the armed forces sawbones has offered to acquire Grace a occupation in a infirmary in Georgetown.A Grace confesses that Mr. Clement is her ain male parent, and she feels some trueness to him. March realizes that he and Grace are still attracted to each other.

Chapter 4: A Mr. March writes anotherA flowery missive to Marmee after his unit captures Harpers Ferry in West Virginia.A He remembers how he met Marmee through her brother Daniel Day, a fellow emancipationist and Unitarian minister.A

Mr. March goes into town and stops a group of soldiers hassling a “ Rebel ” adult female and her daughter.A He reports their behavior to the colonel merely to happen that the colonel wants him transferred. March is excessively extremist a Christian to be a comforting chaplain.A Plus his abolitionist stance is really unpopular: the Union soldiers regard freed slaves as future competition for their occupations up North.

The colonel orders March to use for a place with the “ contraband ” : A freed slaves who work captured plantations to back up the Union ground forces ‘s side.A March refuses, and the colonel threatens him: seemingly the sawbones has written out a ailment that he one time saw March and Grace embrace. If March does n’t reassign, the colonel will set the sawbones ‘s ailment in March ‘s military file.A To avoid a dirt, March bitterly agrees to reassign.

Chapter 5: A Mr. March remembers being a immature curate and traveling to Concord, Massachusetts. He suites with the Thoreau household andA makes friends with their bizarre grown boy, Henry David.A He meets Ralph Waldo Emerson at a party attended by many, including Marmee and her brother, who routinely smuggle slaves to freedom along the belowground railroad.A He and Marmee sneak off from the party and consummate their relationship in the forest.A That dark they conceive their oldest girl Meg. The following twenty-four hours March marries Marmee in a quiet ceremonial in her parents ‘ parlour.

Chapter 6: A Mr. March arrives at Oak LandingA plantation now being leased to Ethan Canning, a immature Illinois attorney. He is shocked at what he sees: the house is stripped of furniture, and the black “ contraband ” ( who have n’t been paid in months ) are hungering and sallow, and must labor sun-up to sundown in the cotton fields.A Some grudgingly admit that life was better under their former Masterss the Crofts.A Worst of all, one named Zeke has been confined to a dry well for stealing a pig to feed his children.A

Horrified, March confronts Caning who gives a different viewpoint.A Zeke stole the pig for his adult boies who ride with the Rebel forces, basking the loot. Apparently Canning inherited a no-win state of affairs when he arrived so late in the cotton-picking season. Now everyone including him must work non-stop or dice of starvation.A On top of that, Canning gets no protection from the inadequate Union fort against Rebel foraies. Mr. March listens, both humbled and horrified.

Chapter 7: A ( Brought to you by kat ) Mr. March remembers how he lostA the luck he had built up as a pedlar and wise investor.A In the early yearss of his matrimony, his lone concern centered on Marmee ‘s passionate pique which he found scaring and unseemly.A Then when the celebrated emancipationist John Brown comes to Concord to give a talk, Mr. March backs Brown ‘s cause financially to affect Marmee. Brown plans to purchase land and set up a community of freed slaves in the Adirondacks.A But Brown mismanages the money over the old ages, passing it on caches of weapons.A Gradually the Marchs descend so far into poorness that Mr. March ‘s rich aunt offers to follow Jo to alleviate them of “ the load of one more oral cavity to feed. “ A Mr. March has to physically keep Marmee from assailing his aunt.A The Marchs move to a bantam bungalow near to the Emersons, and Meg starts working as a governess to assist the household finances.A In an amusive turn ( which occurs in Little Women ) Jo accepts a part-time paid place to be Aunt March ‘s comrade.

Chapter 8: A With the Oak Landing cotton crop in, the workers now have clip to go to school taught by Mr. March ; he writes Marmee about their advancement. Some Union lookouts trick a small black child named Jimse into firing his manus on a kettle.A Mr. March tends to Jimse ‘s burnt manus, feeds him dinner, and so falls asleep with the child in his lap.A He wakes to see Jimse ‘s immature female parent Zannah watching him, and hands over Jimse. The following twenty-four hours, Zannah leaves him a woven chapeau as a thank-you. His wonder about her grows and he tries to acquire her to talk up in category. His best pupil Jesse, who has become the freed slaves ‘ unofficial leader, explains that Zannah ca n’t talk because her lingua was cut out old ages ago by two white work forces who raped her.

Chapter 9: A The cotton harvest gets sentA North on the river, and another boat arrives full of contributions gathered by Marmee for the freed slaves. They are thrilled and Canning allows them a dark of jubilation before seting the following harvest. Caning receives the net incomes on the sale of the current harvest and pays the workers though he ‘s still in debt. Moved by the fact that Caning kept his promises, the workers manus over a surprise: some concealed bales of cotton from the old year.A When the Crofts left the plantation, the Rebels came in and ordered them to fire the cotton, but they managed to conceal some.A Now they give it to Canning and he ‘s so thankful that he might be able to avoid bankruptcy that he allows them another dark of celebration.A Mr. March attends and gets carried away with imbibing, vocalizing, and dance.

Chapter 10: A A March wakesA the following twenty-four hours with xanthous febrility, a serious repeating unwellness. Caning drives to the Union fort to acquire him a physician, but no 1 wants to assist an emancipationist like March. The workers nurse March back to unstable wellness. Then the Union fort withdraws, go forthing merely a nominal force for “ protection ” against the rebels.A March vows to remain on with Canning, but starts kiping in a concealment topographic point in a store-room in instance Rebels raid the topographic point.

Chapter 11: A A Mr. MarchA remembers his life merely after abolitionist John Brown ‘s failed foray on the fort at Harpers Ferry. The South demands prosecution of Northerners who backed Brown, and March keeps a low profile while several of his familiarities leave the state. Most Northerners such as Nathaniel Hawthorne condemn Brown ‘s willingness to perpetrate violence.A Henry David Thoreau is the merely 1 to talk up in Brown ‘s defence, comparing him in a passionate address to Jesus.

At Marmee ‘s insisting, March continues to assist runaway slaves though he risks arrest under the freshly passed Fugitive Slave Act. The Marchs shelter a slave miss named Flora. Once when they are out, the sheriff comes to the house and attempts to bluster his manner in without a hunt warrant.A Merely mild small Beth is at place, and subsequently March listens with amazement as Beth tells him how she stood up to the sheriff and refused to allow him in. The Marchs send Flora to safety in Canada.

That spring, war interruptions out. The immature work forces from Concord muster in the Cattle Show grounds and do addresss. Mr. March impetuously volunteers to fall in. Marmee, with cryings in her eyes, reaches out to him and he interprets her emotion as pride in him and loving support. Subsequently, she clutches his manus hard, and he interprets it the same way.A The whole town treats him like a hero.

Chapter 12: A A ( Brought to you by kat ) A The Rebels overrun Oak Landing plantation in the center of the dark. Mr. March hides, but they seize Caning, hiting him in the articulatio genuss. They kill Ptolemy, an old black adult male, seeking to coerce March out of concealing to salvage him.A Then they torch the cotton Fieldss and take the black kids as slaves. Poor Zannah runs to fall in them so she can be with her boy Jimse.A

Chapter 13: A A March and Jesse follow the rebelsA to a cantonment in the forests where the Rebels get drunk on some homemade spirits that Jesse left at his cabin and laced with something to do them vomit. As each Rebel staggers into the forests to alleviate himself, Jesse kills them and takes their weapons.A Jesse attempts to give March a gun so that March can assist him deliver the childs, but March refuses it: he can non take a life.

The rebel leader inquiries Caning who ca n’t call anyone willing to pay a ransom for him.A March tickers in agitation until the rebel leader brinks on hiting Canning, so bursts out of concealment and shouts that Caning ‘s fiancee will pay his ransom ( he one time saw the miss ‘s exposure ) .A But Canning says that his fiancee died last twelvemonth of consumption.A The Rebels tie up both Canning and March.A March relapses into his xanthous febrility.

Zannah, who has been made to be given the campfire, tiptoes around and unties the captives.A Jesse starts hiting the Rebels, and the prisoners run for safety. March sees Canning and several of the prisoners die, so loses consciousness and is left for dead.A

Zannah returns to be given to him, and he learns her boy Jimse is dead.A She gives March a lock of Jimse ‘s hair, so gets March on a mule and takes him to safety. He wakes on a Union ship, being tended by nuns who tell him that Zannah brought him to a Union garrison and wrote a message on her scarf that he was a Union captain and a “ good, sort adult male. ” March is overcome by sorrow.

Part Two ( Marmee ‘s point of view )

Chapter 14: A A Marmee sits at Mr. March ‘s bedside in a Georgetown infirmary and remembers the afternoon in Concord when he volunteered to fall in the Union ground forces. Appalled that he might decease and destine his household to poorness, she stretched out her custodies in cryings to forestall him. In her memory, he knew full good she did n’t desire him to fall in, and he did it anyhow, and so she gripped his manus tightly afterwards to ache him.A

She remembers acquiring word that her hubby was in the Georgetown infirmary, and going at that place with immature Mr. Brooke, a friend of the household to function as her bodyguard in the muddy, refugee-crowded pandemonium that is Washington DC.A She remembers run intoing a beautiful black nurse ( Grace Clement, unknown to her at first ) who warns her that Mr. March is changed by his illness.A Marmee is horrified to happen him hallucinating on the xanthous febrility ward. An scratchy Nurse Flynn will reply none of her inquiries. Overwhelmed, Marmee meekly foliages and follows Mr. Brooke to the seamy rooming house of Mrs. Jamison, which is the best housing that they can acquire in the overcrowded metropolis.

Chapter 15: A A Marmee returns to the infirmary where Mr. March lies untended, and realizes she must alter his sheets and clean him up herself. SheA runs into the abominable Nurse Flynn and tries difficult to be polite but shortly loses her pique and throws a bowl of soup on the atrocious woman.A An orderly Cephus White finds her a topographic point to sit until Nurse Flynn goes off her displacement. A brotherhood chaplain gives Marmee her hubby ‘s personal possessions.A Marmee returns to the ward in clip to see nurse Grace Clement stroking March ‘s face.A She wonders if they were lovers, but can non face them because Mr. Brooke rushes up gleefully, stating that he hears Mr. March is awake.

Chapter 16: A A ( Brought to you by kat ) A MarmeeA sits with March as Grace and Mr. Brooke withdraw to let them their privacy.A She asks him if Grace was his lover and even shakes him as he lapses into unconsciousness. Stoping herself, she goes through his ownerships alternatively and finds the lock of Negro hair which she thinks is from Grace ( and which is truly Jimse ‘s, given by Zannah in Chapter 13 ) .

She searches the infirmary for Grace who has gone off her shift.A The black washwomans, who think Grace is a prig, state Marmee that Grace lives in the family of a Dr. Hale ; they imply that Grace is holding an matter with the doctor.A

Horrified, Marmee goes to Dr. Hale ‘s ample sign of the zodiac and demands to talk with Grace. Immediately she can see that Grace seems to be a close friend to both the Hales and non a kept woman.

Grace tells Marmee everything from when she foremost met March 22 old ages ago to the clinch that she and March shared that led him to reassign to Oak Landing.A She besides fills in all the war hardships that she pieced together from March ‘s hallucinating ramblings, and that he neglected to set in his letters to Marmee. She admits that March is infatuated with her, but stresses that it ‘s non a existent love but an idealistic attractive force to her as a symbol of freedom.A

Marmee confronts Grace with the lock of Negro hair found in her hubby ‘s ownerships. Grace unwinds her scarf and shows Marmee that her hair is wholly different, so right identifies the hair as belonging to a kid. Marmee leaves, cognizing that Grace was n’t her hubby ‘s lover.A But she still resents her hubby for his infatuation with Grace and particularly for non composing truthfully to her about his wartime hardships.A

Chapter 17: A A Mr. March ‘s wellness gets worse. Grace tells Marmee that his utmost guilt over those whom he was n’t able to salvage is undermining his recovery.A She urges Marmee to forgive him and to assist him forgive himself. Marmee realizes that she does love her hubby exactly for his suicidal idealism. She tries to do March see that what is of import is the attempt he put into seeking to assist people, and non the result of whether or non he managed to salvage them.A She farther Tells him that some things such as war have effects that are excessively huge for any one person like him to alter, and that to believe otherwise is disdainful: he needs to allow himself off the hook.A He asks her to go forth so he can kip.

Chapter 18A ( Mr. March ‘s point of view ) : March wakes to happen that Marmee has returned to Concord to nurse Beth through a turn of vermilion febrility. Marmee has left him a note, pressing him to return place every bit shortly as he ‘s recovered.A March slowly recovers and attempts to assist Grace around the infirmary. He tends to the orderly Cephus White ( who helped out Marmee in Chapter 15 ) ; the hapless male child, retrieving from a war-wound himself, has to hold his leg amputated, and so he dies. March is filled with guilt, and Grace catchs at him to discontinue wallowing in it and acquire on with his life.A He snaps back that she is so baronial she ca n’t perchance cognize anything about guilt.A

Grace so tells him her darkest secret: Mr. Clement ‘s boy, her half-brother, did n’t decease in a hunting accident.A Grace shooting him after he raped her, cognizing she was his half sister. Even worse, their male parent intended her to be his boy ‘s kept woman. Grace feels that every catastrophe that happened to the Clements afterwards came from her act of violence.A

She tells March that she lives with her guilt by traveling on with her life and seeking to make good.A He thirstily decides to travel with her to assist the Negro military personnels as the war progresses. She angrily tells him that the black race demands to pull off its ain fate, and there will be black sermonizers and therapists who can make a far better occupation for the black military personnels than he can.A She tells him his topographic point is with those who truly need him: A his household.

Chapter 19A ( Mr. March ‘s point of view ) : March returns place to Marmee and his girls in Concord. He is still wracked with guilt, but he knows he needs to be at that place for his household. The End.

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