The Midwife's Apprentice

by Karen Cushman

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What does The Midwife's Apprentice convey about life and living?

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The following excerpt was taken directly from enotes:

This emotional engagement is deeper than just the response to a colorful tale well-told; it is enriched because the novel illuminates universal truths of a kind young readers yearn to embrace.

Young people, no matter how socially disadvantaged and unloved, can improve the state of their lives and the quality of their characters if they summon up the will, resolve, courage, and confidence to face up to their shortcomings and the bitter thoughts feeling a failure brings. Responsibility must be accepted before self-reliance can be achieved, and self-reliance is the bedrock upon which sound lives are built. Enlightened self-reliance is more than just brute tenacity however; it must be graced with compassion for others, tempered with an awareness of the importance of kindness, and informed by a sense of how critical little words and gestures are in helping others overcome their doubts. Compassion nurtures civility, civility cements community, and community is ultimately what all young people desire and need.

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