The Tamarack Tree: A Novel of the Siege of Vicksburg

by Patricia Clapp

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What would the climax and resolution be in The Tamarack Tree?

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The climax of a story is the most interesting part, or the turning point.  The resolution is the ending of the story, or how the conflict is resolved.

This story takes place in the south before the Civil War.  The Union Army needs to siege Vicksburg, Mississippi in order to gain control of the South by dividing it.  Rosemary, the main character, falls in love with a boy who goes to fight in the Confederate army. 

The climax of the book is when the siege of Vicksburg begins, and Rosemary and her brother Derek go into hiding in a cave.  They cannot stay in their house because of the shelling, or bombing, of the city.  During the siege, everything changes.  Rosemary and the others do anything they can to survive.

Step by trembling step I moved, fingers trailing along the walls.  How far had I come?  Not far…What an atavistic fear it is, the fear of darkness!  I wanted to claw through the walls to light and air. (p. 165)

Things definitely change when you’re fighting for your life.  Day to day life becomes about survival rather than status or wealth.

The resolution is the ending of the battle, when the conflict of the siege is resolved.  Rosemary survives, but Ben dies.  Those that do survive are grateful, and realize that life is about your safety and your loved ones and not social status or material possessions.

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