Analysis Of The Midwife's Apprentice By Karen Cushman

778 Words4 Pages
“What a man can be, he must be,” is a quote by Dr. Abraham Maslow in the book Motivation and Personality, which talked about a hierarchical pyramid of human needs. It means, such as, if a girl wants to be a midwife, she must be a midwife, like in the book The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman. The main character, Alyce, wants to find a place in the world by becoming a midwife, and it is the most important thing to her. However, her age and gender affect the conflict.

First, her gender affected her because there were only so many jobs a female could have in the Middle Ages. Many women just worked along with the men in the fields, taking care of the animals and doing housework. Also, many women had another occupation, like spinning, weaving,
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Alyce worked hard to help people (and an animal) to give birth. In the book, it states, “Alyce took another deep breath and returned to Joan’s side. She gave her mugwort in warm ale to drink and spoke soothingly, calling her Sweetheart and Good Old Girl. She warmed oil over the fire and rubbed her head and belly, as she had the cow’s. She did not know the spells or the magic, so gave Joan all she had of care and courtesy and hard work.” (Pg. 59, 3rd paragraph) Also, she doesn’t give up and overcome obstacles. Even though Alyce runs away because she failed to help Emma Blunt give birth, she regains her confidence when the rich merchant’s wife was laboring at the inn. In the book, it states, “Alyce backed out of the cottage, then turned and ran up the path to the road, she didn’t know why or where. Behind her in that cottage was disappointment and failure. The midwife had used no magic. She had delivered that baby with work and skill, not magic spells, and Alyce should have been able to do it but could not. She had failed.” (Pg. 70, 2nd paragraph) After this event, she runs away from the village to John Dark’s inn, and learns that Jane Sharp came to talk to Magister Reese. “She was not as stupid as some I have had, and better company, but still perhaps her going was for the best. She was not what I needed.”
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