In Caleb's Crossing, the Wampanoag and the Puritans have different views on raising children. Descrbie the differences you see between the two cultures.

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

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The major difference is the way that, as Bethia experiences, learning and education is something that is not open to girls in the Puritan culture, even though she is very intelligent and clearly able to learn very quickly. This is shown through the way in which Bethia listened to the classes her father gave her twin brother, Zuriel. Even after Zuriel died, Bethia chose to continue learning in secret, but she sees this as her major sin, which is designed to have an impact on the reader: after all, it is odd for a young fifteen-year-old girl to describe her love of learning as a "major sin."

In addition, ideas of raising children are shown to be different in the way that the Wampanoag have such a close relationship with nature compared to the way that the Puritans are raised to see nature as something that they should have dominion over. Bethia becomes aware of this as she walks with Caleb in the woods for the first time:

He walked through the woods like a young Adam, naming creation. I learned to shape my mouth to the words—sasumuneash for cranberry, tunockuquas for frog. So many things grew and lived here that were strange to us, because they had not been in England. ...when he named a plant or a creature, I felt that I heard the true name of the thing for the first time.

The Wampanoag clearly raise their young to have an intimacy with nature which is based on healthy respect and love. This is something that is obviously not demonstated by the colonists, who seek to cut down trees and turn "wilderness" as they see it into farms.

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