The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman

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What is the problem, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, Resolution, and Genre. 

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Jonathan Beutlich, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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bookB.A. from Calvin University

bookM.A. from Dordt University

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starTop subjects are Literature, Science, and History

Let me start with the genre. It's probably best described as children's historical fiction. It's accurate to a time period, but the characters are not actual historical figures. The children's part is simply because the book is not a hugely complex, difficult read. 

I would have to say that there are two central conflicts in the book. The first problem is the confidence level and self esteem of Beetle/Alyce. The entire book is about her development as a character. She learns from the midwife. She helps people. People treat her nicely and fairly in return. They begin asking for her help. All the while she turns from a girl that doesn't read, speak much, or smile much either to a girl that learns to read, finds joy in her work, and is happy. 

The other central conflict is Alyce's relationship with the midwife, Jane. Jane takes in Alyce, but treats her horribly. She is abusive both physically and emotionally to Alyce and intentionally withholds teaching/learning from Alyce, because Jane does not want Alyce to become competition. Using that conflict for the story arc works well.  

The rising action would be when Alyce goes into town to get supplies for Jane. While in town, she is treated with respect and makes the decision to change her name to Alyce. It's a very proactive step on her part. Another part of that rising action is when Alcye saves a boy from drowning and helps to deliver twin calves. She is gaining respect from others and learning to apply her knowledge gleaned from the midwife. 

The climax would be when Alyce is called into help with a difficult birth. It would be a great scene if Alyce could do it, but the tension is heightened when it turns out the birth is too difficult and Alyce doesn't know what to do. She runs away at this point.  

That leads to the falling action which would be Alyce working at an inn away from the village. While there she learns to read and does deliver a baby for a woman in labor.  

That gives Alyce the confidence to return to Jane and continue her training as the midwife's apprentice. 

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dianavanessaolympia | Student

What is the identity and how is it shaped?