Country of the Pointed Firs: What’s it all About?

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Sarah Orne Jewett’s masterpiece is about the Maine coast and its people, but there is something deeper going on. What is it? What is Jewett trying to communicate to us as readers?

Take your time and come up with an explanation of the heart of the book. Don’t oversimplify or try to explain a single message. Ambiguity is not only to be tolerated; it is welcomed. What is her theme here?

After you make a clear statement of Jewett’s purpose and message, try a more straightforward question. Should Jewett have included “William’s Wedding” as the end of the novel?  Explain why, or why not.

Use at least 3 quotations from the story that you find helpful.

Looking for quotes? It’s useful to have a text version of the story, and you can find it in a few places on the Internet. Go to the site, then “Edit” and “Find,” and it will help you locate the quotations you may find helpful.

Here’s a link to a version I like from the University of Virginia:∂=all

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