The Return of Martin Guerre

Topics: Family, Spain, Middle Ages Pages: 3 (1087 words) Published: March 24, 2011
The Return of Martin Guerre
The purpose of this paper is to introduce, discuss, and analyze the book "The Return of Martin Guerre" by Natalie Zamon Davis. Specifically, it will discuss the life of the peasant during the Middle Ages. This book is a fascinating account of a true case that happened during the 16th century in France. The book is also an excellent example of how the peasants lived in the Middle Ages, from what they ate, to how they traveled and what their family lives were like. This book shows that life in the Middle Ages was difficult and demanding, but it seems a little bit peaceful and serene, too. The main occupations were farming and raising sheep or goats, and there were tradesman in the villages who worked for a living, such as a shoemaker, a blacksmith, and such. Martin Guerre and his family were tile makers, but they also farmed and raised sheep to become relatively prosperous in their small village (Davis 14). The peasants were uneducated, (the Guerre's town did not even have a schoolmaster), and most could not read, and could only write a small amount (Davis 15). They also married their children off very young, and often made matches for them. Martin Guerre married when he was only fourteen, and his wife was even younger (Davis 16). Life revolved around the village, the church, and the family, and it was a very busy but seemingly contented lifestyle. Their main concerns were the family and simple survival. Everything they did was to feed and clothe the family, from raising grains and grapes to raising sheep so they could spin the wool into cloth and clothe the family members. When they became more successful, it was to make money and rise up in stature in the village community, but peasants who did not have trades worked the land for their own survival. They were also extremely close-knit families, often living nearby each other, so family was important for them, as well. They worked together as a family, and widows lived...

References: Davis, Natalie Zamon. The Return of Martin Guerre. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.
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