Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen CushmanCorpus Bones! I utterly loathe my life.
Catherine feels trapped. Her father is determined to marry her off to a rich man--any rich man, no matter how awful.
But by wit, trickery, and luck, Catherine manages to send several would-be husbands packing. Then a shaggy-bearded suitor from the north comes to call--by far the oldest, ugliest, most revolting suitor of them all.
Unfortunately, he is also the richest.
Can a sharp-tongued, high-spirited, clever young maiden with a mind of her own actually lose the battle against an ill-mannered, piglike lord and an unimaginative, greedy toad of a father?
Deus! Not if Catherine has anything to say about it!
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Catherine, Called Birdy - September and October Summary & Analysis
Catherine, Called Birdy opens in September of Catherine begins with some everyday details about her life: she talks about the fleas she has to pick out of her bedding and off of her body, about how she hates spinning and her father, and how she secretly wishes she were a villager and not the daughter of a country knight. She reveals that she is writing this journal because her brother, Edward, is a monk and taught her to write. She introduces the reader to Morwenna, her nurse, to her friend Perkin, the goat boy, and to her other brothers, Robert and Thomas, who are off on the Crusades. Although her father is a knight, the family is not wealthy, and Catherine's father keeps trying to marry her off to different men; this begins right away with a wool merchant Browse all BookRags Study Guides. All rights reserved.
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September and October Summary
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Catherine, Called Birdy is the story of Catherine, the daughter of a moderately well-off baron in the years and , when Catherine is thirteen and fourteen years old. The book takes the form of a journal Catherine is keeping to please her brother Edward, who is a monk and thus knowledgeable about the importance of reading and writing. The story begins in September of , when Catherine describes her world: her father's manor, her father and mother themselves her father is bawdy, loud and disagreeable, her mother kind and sweet , and the different people she comes in contact with on a daily basis. One of the largest subplots of the book occurs when her favorite Uncle George comes home from the Crusades and falls in love with Catherine's friend Lady Aelis. However, because George does not have a high position in society, they cannot marry, and both end up marrying others George, a crazy older woman named Ethelfritha, Aelis first to a seven-year-old duke and later to Catherine's brother Robert. Catherine, Called Birdy discusses everything from the mundane events of her life killing fleas, spinning and embroidery to festivals and holidays such as Easter or May Day, many of which are celebrated by the entire village to her travels in England, which are limited she goes, for example, to Lincoln with her father, or to spend a few day at Lady Aelis' manor.
On the small Medieval manor on which she lives, her options are limited. As Catherine seeks to avoid an arranged marriage and find meaning in her life, Cushman challenges the reader to consider questions of identity, equality, freedom, and familial responsibility. Students reading Catherine, Called Birdy will likely require a little background on life in Medieval England. As Catherine explains in her journal entries, her life in the manor house is strictly controlled. Being a lady did not simply mean acting like a polite female; a lady was a specific upper-class position in the ranks of English nobility and held different responsibilities and expectations than life as a lower-class female.