characters caleb's crossingNeed description of major characters

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Caleb and Bethia establish a synchronicity of wisdom and spirituality. On one hand, Bethia has the wisdom of reading and history and the spirituality of Christianity, while Caleb is ignorant but desirous of understanding each of these. On the other hand, Caleb has the wisdom of nature and the spirituality of being rooted in nature, both of which Bethia is ignorant but desirous of attaining.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Two characters who are mentioned in the text, but do not have current roles, are Bethia's mother and Zuriel. Bethia's mother died when giving birth to a child who is never given a name. Zuriel is Bethia's twin brother (he died in an accident).

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is interesting to note the similarities between Samuel and Bethia that make them particularly suitable for each other as a married couple. Both are intellectual people who have keen minds and are interested in learning. Though clearly there are trials that the two need to undergo, at the same time they show perseverance and significant maturity in weathering those trials and ending up together.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Here are a couple of other important characters:

Makepeace Mayfield is Bethia's brother. When it is time to go away to school, Bethia must go as well, but she must serve as an indentured servant to the head master of Cambridge, the prep school associated with Harvard. Makepeace and his sister have a tenuous relationship, but Bethia tries to stand on her own as much as possible.

At Cambridge, Bethia meets Samuel, the son of the head master and a student at Harvard. He is an intellectual who sees and values Bethia's intelligence. They have their ups and downs, but eventually marry and live a long, happy life together.

At Cambridge, Bethia meets Anne, a young Indian woman. It is eventually revealed that she is pregnant and unmarried. When she miscarries the baby, Bethia is there to help her, but there is much controversy surrounding how far along the pregnancy was, and no one believes that she didn't get pregnant at the school. Under threat of public punishment, Anne leaves in secret, and goes to live on the island where Bethia grew up. Anne and Joel, another Indian student, planned to marry, but Joel was killed in an accident.

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The main characters are the Puritan teenager Bethia, who is fifteen years old, and her secret friend Caleb, who is a Native American.  Bethia loves learning and has unusual views of God, for a Puritan.  There’s also her father the pastor.

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