What is the major theme of Patricia MacLachlan's Sarah, Plain and Tall?

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

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A theme is the subject matter a text revolves around (the main ideas). In the case of Patricia MacLachlan's Sarah, Plain and Tall the novel contains three distinct themes. 


The atypical family depicted in the novel illustrate that biological families are not the only ones who can possess the love of a true family. The curious bonds created within the text illustrate that family connections are not based upon blood. Instead, the relationships depicted between the characters illustrates what being a true family means. 

New Beginnings

The theme of new beginnings is illustrated by the idea that Sarah looks forward to new things in life (yet holds onto her memories). All of the characters need to begin again. Anna and Caleb need to move on from their mother's death. Jacob misses his wife, and he needs to sing again. Sarah needs to feel needed again. 


Anna and Caleb feel abandoned by their mother (with her death). Jacob also feels this as well. All of them need to feel needed and taken care of. Sarah insures that all three never feel abandoned again. 


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