The novel The Wife of Martin Guerre by Janet Lewis tell the story of Bertrande’s life as a woman in France in the 16th century. Bertrande de Rols was married at age eleven to Martin Guerre through an arrange marriage in hopes of fixing the a feud between the two peasant families in Artigues. Bertrande goes from being a scared child to a strong women trying to defend her family only to be condemned for her actions in the end.
Bertrande begins living the normal life of a wife at a young age. Through her marriage to Martin Guerre, she becomes scared of the men in her life and accepting to rules and standards that she must follow. She carries out each day following the orders of her husband and his father and mother. She shows no sign of disapproval at first because she is still adjusting to the live style chosen for her. As time passes, she begins to have more self-understanding and becomes more outward with her beliefs. After Martin Guerre is punished for disobeying his father, Bertrande sides with him against the paternal authority showing her matured feelings for Martin. Later that night, after he was punished for sneaking off to go hunting, she tells him that she is amazed by his bravery and manliness. Laying in his arms, they become united and she realizes that Martin belonged to her and her affection for him grew. At this point in the story, she begins to bond with the man she is to spend the rest of her life with. She secures her bond with the family and is given a bigger role in her daily life by having her first son, Sanxi. This bond with Martin continues to grow when he once again rebels against his father. This time, when Martin Guerre steals seeds to plant in the open land, Bertrande gives him her complete approval. She is not only sympathetic for him, but tells his his actions are “well done” (30). This is so prominent because in the beginning of their marriage, she was a rule follower and did not go past the...
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