What are the similarities between The Midwifes Apprentice and the 21st century?
The focus of similarities between Cushman's work and the modern setting revolves around identity formation in young people. Alyce's challenges, definition, and redefinition of self is a part of the adolescent process of maturation. This idea is fairly present in modern young girls, who also have to endure some level of challenge and struggle before finding their own sense of self and their "voice." Young boys have to endure this process, as well, but with girls', this notion of bildungsroman is a powerfully compelling and modern one. The idea of having to gain confidence and internal strength in a particular craft or vocation is another parallel to the modern setting. Throughout the maturation process, hope is met with insecurity, and dreams of success are met with fears of failure. Like Alyce, there is an ongoing dialectic between both valences, helping to confirm and solidify a notion of self in the process.