The Return Of Matin Guerre Analysis

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Natalie Zemon Davis’ famous work The Return of Martin Guerre is a story of a man who runs away from his family and home,leaving a wife in social purgatory. A man named Arnaud du Tilh comes to the village claiming to be Martin guerre. Du Tihl is accused by a family member to be a fraud and is taken to court. The real Matin Guerre only returns when du Tilh is about to be found innocent of being a fraud. Davis story is about identity, culture and love in rural peasant society. Martin Guerre was born in the 16th century place in southern France Basque country. Martin 's father moves his family to a village called Artigat where the Guerre family becomes highly respected and is one of the leading families of the community. Davis shows right from…show more content…
Davis ' main question with all the story is to answer what happened, and possibly explain why the people did what they did. People do not run away without reason and motivation. People do not take another person 's life without a reason and motivation. Davis says at the end of her introduction “What I offer you here is in part my invention, but held tightly in check by the voices of the past”. Davis does not have a lot to go off when it comes to personal lives. Most people in Artigat in the 16th century did not read or write, so journals are non existant. Davis has formal records, such as births and marriages, Coras ' book as well as La Sueur 's work. This leaves a lot of holes in the historical narrative. Davis does an excellent job by creating a narrative to fill in the holes left by the records. She justifies motivations for the people within the confines of logic. When she explains that Marin 's family most likely saw a lot of travelers on the way to Artigat, she explains that Artigat is situated in a place with “age old trade exchange between the Pyrenees and the plains” . She has a reason to assume that they saw people because they were on what was a historical trade route at the time. That type of narrative building is used throughout the entire story and for most of the book, works…show more content…
Davis 's way of writing The Return of Martin Guerre is very easy to read. Davis says in On the Lame, a response to critic Robert Finlay 's review of the book, that she wanted it to read like a mystery novel for all readers. Davis backs up what shes says with historical facts and does ask questions on chronological events. Such as when the real Martin leaves, Davis states that it would be interesting if Martin went to his ancestral home or not after stealing from his father to escape. Davis does not spend a lot of time on the topic, but spends enough to make it interesting and remind the reader that these were real thinking people all those centuries ago. The first half of the book is great for general readers who like history, but do not want all the deep details. Her style

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