In Caleb’s Crossing, Geraldine Brooks takes a frequently overlooked episode in American history as inspiration for her fictionalized version of the remarkable true story of Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk, the first Native American to attend and graduate from Harvard College. Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks. Discussion Guide and Resources. One Book, One San Diego is a community reading program managed by KPBS in. Crossing, the story of Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk, who in became the very Caleb's Crossing follows Bethia and Caleb from Grand Harbor to Cambridge.

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SEVEN STORIES: Caleb's Crossing. January 1, Page 1. Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks. The Author. Geraldine Brooks was born into a middle. Abstract In Caleb's Crossing, Geraldine Brooks takes a frequently overlooked . Retrieved from Swail, W., Redd, K. United States. Caleb's Crossing is about Caleb's journey from the Island to Harvard but it is also Author interviews about Caleb's Crossing: . _transcript. pdf.

What does Bethia think of them — what do her views reveal about her? What is a salvage? How do Bethia and her Father define what Wampanoag means? What does this tell us about Bethia and her Father? What does it mean? What does it tell us about Bethia? What may it be alluding to?

Why does Bethia love the countryside? What does it represent to her? Describe what Caleb looks like. What does Caleb show Bethia? Why does Bethia like spending time with Caleb? By spending time with Caleb what does Bethia learn about her own people? Chapter Four What is the significance of the butchering of the beached whale?

What could it mean for relations with the Wampanoag? Why is it described in such graphic detail?

Caleb's Crossing Summary & Study Guide Description

What is the effect on the reader? Why is Bethia so affected by listening to the Wampanoag celebrating? How does it make you feel about the Wampanoag? What has Bethia been taught about dancing? How does Bethia feel when she returns to the Beach? Have you ever witnessed something completely foreign but have been so moved it changed the way you looked at the world forever?

What does Bethia do? Why does the author start the chapter this way? What do we learn about him? What does his name mean?

What is his relationship to his name? Do you think they are ironic names?

Caleb's Crossing Summary & Study Guide

What is the significance of them renaming each other? Are Bethia and Caleb prejudiced?

If so, in what ways? What does Bethia realise? What does Bethia teach Caleb? In turn, what does Caleb teach her? How does Bethia change by being with Caleb?

How are Bethia and Caleb on similar paths? What do their societies expect of them as they become teenagers and move to adulthood? What does Bethia envy about Caleb? What does Caleb have to do? Is she in love with Caleb or does she just want his freedoms?

Why does she take the white hellebore? What is the significance? Do you think she would have done it if she was at home? Why does she think she has sinned? Is Bethia going to marry Noah? Is Caleb jealous? What does Pastor Mayfield hope if he succeeds in making Nahnoso well?

Did Pastor Mayfield get his significant convert? Why did Nahnoso reject Christianity? What happens to the people who died from smallpox? How many died? Why does the author write about the deaths from smallpox so graphically?

Why does Caleb come to live with the Mayfields? Do Bethia and Caleb have the same rights in the house?

Who is Joel? Why is the tone of this chapter different from the previous section? What does Caleb look like?

Is Caleb an equal member of the Mayfield household? Do the Pastor and Makepeace believe that the Wampanoag are equal? Chapter Two — Four What does Bethia want? Why is there quite a lot of detail about the water well? What role does Joel play for Caleb?

Why is there such a long passage about Solace? What does Bethia think about her life when she thinks about Solace? What do the family learn from Caleb? Is Caleb in love with Bethia? Does Bethia like living in Cambridge? How does she describe it? How has she changed since leaving the Island? How has Caleb changed? What does he no longer do?

What does the passage of the Hebrews mean? What is Bethia grieving for? Chapters Five — Seven Bethia determines to write more clearly, why? What is Bethia battling within herself? What is the tale of Odysseus? What is Caleb doing? What is the significance of his offering for Solace? Why does it make Bethia uncomfortable? What sins has she committed? How does Pastor Mayfield change?

What are Tequamuck and the Pastor fighting over? Why does the Pastor agree to go to England?

Chapters Eight — Eleven 11 What does Tequamuck do at the beginning of the chapter? How does Makepeace respond? How does the Island community mark his death? Why does Makepeace think that Tequamuck killed his father? What does he want to do? Does Bethia agree? What does Makepeace think about Caleb and his relationship with Bethia?

Why is he so angry? What is going to happen to Makepeace and Bethia? What does indentured mean? How would you feel if you had to be indentured for a number of years to allow your sibling to continue their education?

What are the options available for Bethia? Why does Bethia consent to the plan? How has Bethia changed from the beginning of the book? What do she and Caleb argue about?

What is the nature of their relationship? Are they in love?

Caleb's Crossing

Do they consider themselves like brother and sister? How do his views differ from those of his uncle? What secrets do they share? Write a diary entry upon learning that one of your siblings has indentured you for three years. What is its purpose? Who is Anne Bradsheet? What does Dudley think about Indians being educated? What does Bethia think? What does Anne have access to but not Bethia? Why is Makepeace so angry with Bethia? Why is she so upset? Do you think it is worthy of being labelled a crime?

Who comes to her defence and offers a solution? Do you think Bethia and Samuel will get married? Do they share common interests and beliefs? What does Caleb think? What does Caleb believe the differences are between an English and Indian wife? What important question does Caleb ask? Who does Bethia defend? What does Caleb suggest?

What does Goody Marsden allege? What do Bethia and Makepeace do? What do Bethia and Samuel argue about? What is Caleb so upset about? Do you think he is in love with Bethia? Bethia loves the Island but she also comes to love something else — what is it? What does she propose to Samuel? Is Caleb treated unfairly or differently at Harvard? How does the President treat him, does the way that he treat Caleb change? What does Bethia learn in the Buttery? What happens to Caleb?

Who is Metacom? What happens to Joel? How does Caleb change from when he first met Bethia? How has Bethia changed? What is the war that she writes about? How did relations between the two communities change after the war? Do you agree? What do you think Bethia thinks about the English coming to America?

Do you think she regrets her life? Regrets meeting Caleb? Regrets not having a different relationship with Caleb? What do you think about the last line? What does it tell us as readers?

For example, can Indigenous cultures survive? Can Indigenous cultures survive while ever they are surrounded by another culture with different values and ideas? Can we accept that there are different ways of looking at the world and they are all equal at the same time? What happens when there is a cultural clash and different understanding of how land should be seen and used? It is about the crossing that Caleb makes from one world to another but it is also about the crossing that Bethia makes from young girl to woman, to finding a way she can live on her own terms; to learning that there is not just one way of looking at the world but other ways as well that are perhaps more compelling to her.

The book is also about the cost of crossings as well. It shows that crossings are not always to the benefit of those making them.

Would he yet live, an old man now? He 14 [Samuel] shook his head and said he cannot see such a thing in half a hundred years.

What rights to Indigenous peoples have to maintain their traditional lands, customs and beliefs? This is a fundamental issue for all Indigenous peoples around the world and an issue that many countries continue to struggle with. What rights do Indigenous peoples have when their lands have been occupied by other groups of people? How do they maintain their culture in the wake of another more powerful group? How do Indigenous peoples view their land and the environment compared to their conquerors?

But as she gets to know Caleb, her understanding changes. So when he named a plant or a creature, I felt that I heard the true name of the thing for the first time. She questions the rights of the English on the Island from the very beginning, but believes both groups can live side by side. Be that as it may, what's done is done and it was done lawfully. Caleb reveals himself to be politically savvy, wanting to do what he can to ensure the survival of his people.

Boots, boots and more boots. The shore groans under the weight, and yet more come. They crush the life from us. You will pour across this land and we will be smothered … We must find favour with your God, or die … I say it is braver, sometimes, to bend … That is why I will go now to the Latin school, and the college after, and if your God prospers me there, I will be of use to my people, and they will live.

How would you have felt? If you were Caleb? Pastor Mayfield? Is there only one God? At the beginning of the book, Bethia believes that there is one God, her God and one way to live.

As the story progresses, she realises that there may not be just one way of seeing the world. But… it came to me that our story of a burning bush and a parted sea might also seem fabulous, to one not raised up knowing it was true. Belonging is an underlying theme in the book.

Bethia is part of the Puritan settlement, yet can only belong if she behaves in a way seen fit for a woman. How is he going to belong in this new world order? What does he have to do to safeguard the future of his people? Must he follow a similar path to his Uncle and resist the English or embrace them and learn what he can to guarantee to longevity of his people? Describe in detail the characters of Bethia, her Father, Makepeace, Caleb at the beginning of the novel compared with what they are like at the end of the novel.

Reward Yourself

Which people and events shaped and changed them throughout the course of the novel? What have they experienced over the course of the novel? Bethia What sin does Bethia think she has committed? Why does she think she killed her Mother? She is supposed to be a wife and Mother. Her mother advises her to be silent when necessary and her father advises against her being too educated otherwise she may be cleverer than her husband.

Caleb's Crossing

Love is not part of the life equation. She is severely punished for speaking her mind, and speaking against her brother and she is indentured as a result of a deal between her Grandfather and Master Corlett.

She does not always obey the rules though. Her best friend is an American Indian. She speaks her mind. She educates herself. What do you think? Has life changed completely for women since the s?

What were women supposed to want when your Grandmothers and mothers were teenagers? Were there things that their parents told them they could or could not do? What is it like now? The Harvard Indian College was built in with the sole purpose of housing and educating Native Americans see Figure 1. Although education for Native Americans was the intended purpose for establishing the Harvard Indian College, the mission was unsuccessful.

No more than two native students ever occupied the Indian College at one time, and during its existence, only four Indian scholars attended Harvard Wright, , p. The Indian College eventually was demolished in As portrayed by Geraldine Brooks, not everyone in the colonies at that time was supportive of this radical educational innovation. One wealthy student at Harvard was angered by the apparently endless supply of funds, support, and buildings for Native Americans: I do not see why they cannot be boarded elsewhere, as the funds for their education are limitless, seemingly.

You know, I suppose, that it comes, all of it, from England, where the cause of Christianizing the savages is well supported. I have heard that the new building, the Indian College as they call it, over yonder in the Harvard yard, cost in excess of four hundred pounds of English money.

Can you credit such a sum?

For savages. While English scholars crowd into a leaking, drafty ruin. The novel is narrated through the fictional character of Bethia Mayfield, the daughter of a doi Although both Bethia and Caleb had a strong desire to learn, they encountered numerous obstacles to obtaining an education. Simply because of her gender, Bethia was denied access to books, the study of languages, and a formal education.

Unlike Bethia, however, as a result of the special conditions of the Harvard Indian College, Caleb was given the chance for a collegiate education and succeeded beyond all expectations. Among other accomplishments, he learned to read and write in English, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Brooks does an excellent job illustrating the racism and inequality that were present in the 17th century.

Although Caleb and Joel overcame various obstacles to attend Harvard, their isolated experiences during college were equally challenging. This almost entirely forgotten time in the history of higher education is vital in remembering the struggles that many individuals experience with access to education. Assimilation was the goal in the 17th century. It does not have to be so in the 21st. As with her other historical fiction, Brooks researched the geographic area, food, medicine, education, writings, and diseases of the time to accurately portray the life and loss surrounding the early years of the first American college.

The flavor of 17th century Harvard is described in the passage below: The scholars and their tutors lived in their own world, walled off from ordinary folk by their black cloaks, their Latin speech and their high thoughts. Samuel had told me that there was much talk, in the early days of the settlement, against the expense of building a college such as this one. It would have been easier, and cheaper, in that straightened time, to have the scholars boarded among the townsfolk, meeting together for classes, as the universities of Europe generally fashioned it.

But the English who visioned this place had graduated from the colleges and Cambridge in England, and they aspired to what they had themselves known: a gated sanctuary where the boys and their tutors lived together, a lofty remove from the town, with its miserable distractions and ungirt life.

Scholars were not to leave the college yard, except by express permission of their tutors. In that way, it was supposed, they would eat, sleep, and breathe their studies, encountering nothing that was not to the purpose of learning.What is a salvage? What will happen to them if they speak their minds or speak ill of any of the male members of their families? By the end of Part 1, Caleb and his friend Joel have become thoroughly versed in Christian studies and professed themselves Christian, suppressing their native identity which, however, resurfaces occasionally.

If you live in a world that values reading and writing is it important to be able to read and write? What evidence in the book, can you find that shows that she an unreliable narrator? What is the effect on the reader?