A Medieval Life

Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

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