Crispin: The Cross of Lead

by Avi

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Student Question

In Crispin: The Cross of Lead, why was the man surprised at the boy's name? What does it suggest about the boy's background?

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In medieval times, Crispin as a name had connotations with high society. Famous religious figures had born the name, such as the third century saint Crispin, a figure with whom English society were familiar due to the famous English victory at Agincourt having occurred on Saint Crispin’s day. When Bear first set eyes on Crispin, he saw a poorly dressed and ragged boy whom he must have assumed was of the peasantry. On hearing his name, Bear, especially given his knowledge of England’s social systems, must have felt his first impressions to be somewhat undermined. The name Crispin’s noble connotations might not be familiar to modern readers. However, given how little information they are given about the boy’s background, Bear’s surprise might lead a reader to suspect a degree of significance in the name, if not to suspect explicitly that Crispin was of noble blood.

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