Sarny: A Life Remembered

by Gary Paulsen

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From which Southern state did Sarny originate?

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Sarny: A Life Remembered is actually a sequel to Gary Paulsen's Nightjohn. The first book describes Sarny's upbringing on the Waller plantation, which the reader knows is in the South, but Paulsen never directly says which part of the South it is in. In part, this symbolizes that, as a slave, Sarny will only ever get to know life on the plantation. First, anything outside of that world would have no importance to someone who has no choice but to focus on hard labor, and second, any knowledge of the outside world would make make her a dangerous person to her owners. In Sarny: A Life Remembered, for example, she talks about locations in the Civil War as if they are far-off exotic lands.

Battles were going fine, it said, Confederacy winning wherever it fought, it said, big battle at a place called Gettysburg up in a North state named Pennsylvania.

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