Sarah describes herself as "tall and plain." She is strong-willed and kind, and she challenges traditional gender roles with her willingness to engage in "men's work" on the prairie. Through this, she also challenges the dominant culture of the time that demands women be subordinate to their husbands.
In Skylark, Patricia MacLachlan's sequel to Sarah, Plain and Tall, Sarah continues to show her independent, strong-willed spirit when she refuses to stand back as fires threaten her home. Rather, she joins Papa as they fight to keep the flames at bay. When Papa scolds her for this action, she ignores his admonishment that she is not obedient and continues fighting the fire alongside him.
However, strong-willed as Sarah continues to be, Skylark presents internal conflict in Sarah as she and her family struggle with the severe drought that has taken hold of the land. She knows Papa, Anne, and Caleb are rooted to the land, but she cannot bring herself to symbolize her commitment to the prairie by writing her name in the dirt like the rest of her family has done. Normally positive and practical, Sarah is finding herself hating the land as if it is purposefully bringing the drought upon the family.
However, after the barn burns down and Sarah and the children must temporarily go to Maine while Papa stays behind, Sarah realizes how much she misses Papa and the prairie. She then discovers she is pregnant. Once rain returns to the prairie, so too do Sarah and the children, with the upcoming arrival of the newborn perhaps symbolizing new life and a fresh start for the Wittings family and the prairie they call home. Sarah seems to sense the meaning of this positive change, as she, too, writes her name in the land.