Caleb's Crossing Questions and Answers
by Geraldine Brooks

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How does Caleb assimilate to life in Puritan society?

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Steph Müller eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As Caleb gets to know Bethia, the daughter of a Puritan pastor, he takes interest in the concept of the God that she believes in and in the ability to glean wisdom from a book.

Later, after Caleb's father dies of smallpox, he comes to live with the Mayfield family, thereby moving into a Puritan household and becoming further assimilated into the culture. Right up until his death from consumption a number of years later, Caleb retains a close relationship with Bethia, thereby remaining closely associated with the Puritan culture. By studying at the Indian School at Harvard for four years, Caleb and Joel gain further knowledge of a culture outside their own.

Ultimately, by coming into association with Bethia and leaving behind the lifestyle of the Wampanoag, Caleb becomes assimilated into Puritan culture.

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Although Caleb retains part of his real name by using the combined name of “Caleb Cheeshahteaumau,” the fact of his entry into Harvard College in 1660 is a decisive step in leaving his...

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