The Woman Who Rides Like a Man

by Tamora Pierce

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Student Question

Why does Alanna refuse Jon's proposal in Tamora Pierce's "The Woman Who Rides Like a Man"?

Expert Answers

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Jon admires Alanna for her strength and her skills as a warrior,  but he expects her to give all of that up when she marries him. After all, she will then be part of a royal family and be expected to behave in a certain way. If she marries him, the strength and courage she has as a warrior would not be characteristics anyone would admire or even want Alanna to possess.

Alanna also believes Jon wants to marry her just so he can rebel against his royal family, not because he truly loves. her. She recognizes that theirs would not be a happy marriage because she would have to give up who she is, and Jon would be using her just to prove to his family that he can do whatever he wants. As a result, Alanna refuses to marry him.

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