”Father’s Arcane Daugher” by E.L. Konigsburg
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a) The story is set in a small town outside of Pittsburgh named Sewickley, Pennsylvania. The family being dealt with throughout the story is well known in their town and are quite wealthy. The story takes place in the year of 1952 but is being retold twenty years later.
Plot ” a) One of the major subplots that take place in the story is the supposed daughter’s love for her father. Martha Sedgewick meets Mr. Carmichael when she is tending his ex- mother-in-law in a nursing home. She immediately falls in love with him after seeing him lonely at the funeral home. She knows that she will never be able to have him for a husband, for he is married with two children. After pondering and studying the situation for a while, she discovers a guaranteed plan. Martha decides that she will become Mr. Carmichael’s long lost daughter who was assumed dead in a fire where four bodies that were recovered and were unable to be identified. This way, she could always be in his life until the day he dies.
Another major subplot that takes place in the story is the real identity of Mr. Carmichael’s daughter. Caroline is the name of Mr. Carmichael’s daughter, and when she first comes back home, her stepmother puts her through a series of tests. These tests include knowing specific dates and persons. The mother, Grace, does this in an indirect way. Instead of her directly asking one by one if she knew this person or remembered this day, every now and then, for about a month, when someone’s name came up, Grace would see if Caroline would remember that person. The fact that Caroline is really Martha Sedgewick does not come out until the end of the story.
b) The best definition of climax that fits this story is that the climax is “the highest point.” The climatic moment is when we find out if Winston will ever be freed from his little sister, Emily. Throughout the whole story, Winston is tied down to his little sister because she has a major disability. Emily is unable to hear clearly and can speak very few words. Winston, being her only sibling, must play games and take care of her when his parents are away. Winston’s parents are usually away because they own a successful business in the city of Pittsburgh. One night when they are away, there supposed daughter Martha comes back and wants to claim the inheritance that belongs to her. She undergoes a series of tests and passes them all. After she claims her inheritance, she decides to go to college and become a special education teacher. She decides to dedicate a couple years of her life and help Emily with her disability so Winston can one day be free. The climatic moment is in the very end when we find out that Martha was successful and freed Winston from his sister. Emily goes on to be the head of the family company and Winston grows to fulfill his dream of being a writer.
c) One of the most important events that takes place in the story is when Mr. Carmichael’s daughter, Caroline, appears back in Sewickley. This event is important because this is where the story begins. When Mr. and Mrs. Carmichael are away, a lady comes to their house and announces herself as their daughter Caroline. About 18 years prior to this, Caroline was kidnapped, and the house where she was supposed to be, burned to the ground. There were four bodies in the house that were unidentifiable. There would be no story if Caroline would never have came back to the city to help Winston and Emily. Also, another important event is when the reader finds out that Emily doesn’t like Caroline very much. Emily says some things that show her disapproval for Caroline.
However, Emily has no idea how much Caroline (or Martha) will help her in the coming years. This event is important because Emily’s actions could have made Martha give up right away and not want to help her or Winston. And finally, the third event is when Caroline is revealed as an imposter. This event is probably the most important because it is when Emily and Winston find out that a total stranger came into their lives to change them forever. And now they would never get a chance to thank her because they both have moved away and lost contact with Martha.
Characters ” a) Emily, Winston’s brother, is a major character throughout the entire story. She is the one that creates the problem in the first place. It is not her fault that she has a disability, but because of her, there is a central problem on which the book is based. Another major character is Martha Sedgewick/Caroline Carmichael. Martha is the imposter who comes to the Carmichael home as Caroline, Mr. Carmichael’s long lost daughter. She is the reason why the central problem is solved. Miss Trollope is one of Caroline’s favorite teachers. When Martha needs information on Caroline, she goes straight to Miss Trollope. Martha needed Caroline’s grades so she could enter college as Caroline. Miss Trollope knew the whole plan ahead of time, and approved of Martha trying to change Winston and Emily’s life for the better. Finally, Winston is the main character throughout the whole story. He is the one who has the problem with his little sister, and needs help from someone who understands. Fortunately, Martha comes into his life and helps him achieve his dreams.
b) An accurate description of Winston in three words would most likely be loving, understanding, and thankful. Winston shows the majority of his loving when he is forced to take care of his little sister Emily. He plays games with her because he has to, but he does not show any dislike of doing that. He knows that what he is doing is helping his sister, and that makes him do many things with her. Winston shows understanding when he finally figures out that his supposed sister Caroline is actually Martha. Many people would seem angry if they found out that someone lied to them about being their sister. However, Winston knows that what Martha did was in the best interest of him. And he knows that if it were not for Martha, he probably would not be what he is today. And this leads into his third characteristic, thankful. He shows much appreciation when he finds out what Martha did. He wishes that he could talk to her again, and repay himself to her.
c) In the end, Winston learns that there is a reason why everything happens. Also he learns that just because people may be handicapped, that they do not have a brilliant mind. Emily could not hear very well, but turns out to be almost smarter than Winston.
Conflict ” a) The major problem that the main character, Winston, must take on is his sister. Emily is born with a major impact on her hearing. She can hear some things and can speak very little. The problem that Winston has with Emily is that he is always tied down to her. Until she overcomes her disability, he will have to watch over her and take care of her. He will never be able to live like normal teen. Winston can never have friends over at the house because of his sister, and may never go out when he has free time because he has to spend time with his sister. In order for him to go on about his life, Emily will need to learn to accept her disability and try getting around it.
b) First of all, Winston struggles with his sister Caroline. He thinks that it would be “cool” to have an older sister and is overjoyed when Caroline moves into the house. However, later in the story, Winston and Caroline get into a fight and the question of her identity comes up. Caroline talks to Winston after that and gives him an envelope telling the true identity of herself, and then hints that she came back for his own good. Winston does not open the envelop until twenty years later. This problem goes along with the central conflict because Martha is the one who sets Winston free from Emily an dif Winston would have known that she was an imposter, he might have tried to keep Martha out of his life forever. Another force that Winston struggles with is his mother. When “Caroline” firsts come back, Winston’s mother puts her though a series of tests before she will allow Caroline to inherit her deceased mother’s money. (Winston and Caroline have two different mothers). This is a major force because if Caroline were to fail one of the tests, she might never have been able to set Winston free from Emily.
Literary Art ” a) This book is not a form of literary art. “Father’s Arcane Daughter” has not had an impact on our society as a whole, has not introduced any new technology, has not developed a new style of writing, or is not well known throughout our nation. However, just because it is not a form of literary art, does not make it an excellent book to read; it simply is not a form of literary art.
Summary ” In this book, there are many good and bad aspects. The believability of the events that take place in this book is great. I can believe that someone would assume the identity of a deceased person to inherit a huge sum of money. The readability and vocabulary of the book are good for the teen-age level; however, the concepts of the book are hard to follow. The age level this book would appeal to is probably more around the twenties. Also, the author does a poor job of character development; the majority of the book consists of developing what happened. The author’s purpose for writing the book seems to be that you shouldn’t let other things or people prevent you from your hopes and dreams. All in all, I would not recommend this book to someone of the same age because it is extremely difficult to pick out key details. However, someone reading for enjoyment of my age might like this book because of the emotional roller coaster you go on!