Martin Guerre Essay

Martin Guerre Essay-73
But in Martin’s absence, the uncle, Pierre, took control of the family lands and guardianship of Martin’s sisters.Himself a widower, Pierre Guerre remarried to none other than Bertrande’s widowed mother, and so she found herself living again with her mother, but now also with her missing husband’s family.For its true beginning, however, we must look back more than a century and off across the Channel, more than 600 miles, or 1000 kilometers south of Chipping Campden, to a little peasant village in the very south of France, among the foothills of the Pyrenees.

But in Martin’s absence, the uncle, Pierre, took control of the family lands and guardianship of Martin’s sisters.

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Bertrande took him home to Artigat, and while some whispered that he was not Martin Guerre, he further proved himself by recognizing villagers he had known long ago, calling to them by name, and reminding them of things they had done together a decade earlier.

Certainly his appearance had changed, but there was enough of a likeness that any differences could be ascribed to his eight-year absence and the hard years he had spent at war.

She bore Martin a son, another heir to the Guerre family lands, named Sanxi after Martin’s father.

For a time, Martin must have had the approval of his father, but in 1548, at 24 years old, Martin lost any goodwill he might have earned with the birth of his child when he allegedly stole some grain from the family.

When he spoke to her with love, however, and proved himself with knowledge of their shared experiences and conversations and other specifics, she relented and embraced him.

He had been away in Spain fighting in King Henri II’s war against the Habsburgs, but he had come back for her and their son, and to reclaim his birthright.

Martin’s sisters were the first to go see him at the hostel, and they came back with their verdict, telling Bertrande that it was indeed their brother Martin.

So Bertrande also made haste to see him, but she shrank from this bearded stranger who seemed heavier than her Martin.

Then one day in 1556, news reached Artigat that a man claiming to be Martin Guerre had checked in to a hostel in a neighboring village.

When the hosteller brought up the wife and child he had left behind, this Martin Guerre, it was said, had wept.


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