A Medieval Life
full title · A Medieval Life: Cecilia Penifader of Brigstock c. 1295–1344
author · Judith M. Bennett
type of work · Biography
genre · Nonfiction; biography; historical narrative; individual history; medieval history; English history; women’s history
language · English
time and place written · 1997–1999, North Carolina
date of first publication · 1999
publisher · McGraw-Hill College
narrator · Judith M. Bennett
point of view · The narrator speaks in the third person, attempting to give a complex and detail-oriented overview of the society in which Cecilia lives. The narrator often refers to Cecilia in order to speculate on how she might have acted in a certain historical situation.
tone · Speculative; informative; balanced; straightforward
tense · Past
setting (time) · The late thirteenth and early to mid-fourteenth centuries
setting (place) · Brigstock, a rustic and wooded manor located in central England
protagonist · Cecilia Penifader
major conflict · Cecilia attempts to survive and prosper as a singlewoman in medieval England.
themes · The universality of women’s experiences; the disenfranchisement of all women; social class as destiny
motifs · Family; those who work, those who pray, those who fight; the number three
symbols · Surnames; the Great Famine, the Black Death
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