Essay about Peasant Lifestyle In Davis´ The Return of Martin Guerre

Essay about Peasant Lifestyle In Davis´ The Return of Martin Guerre

Length: 1599 words (4.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Return of Martin Guerre, written by Natalie Zemon Davis, is the tale of a court case that takes place in sixteenth century France. Martin Guerre is a peasant who deserted his wife and family for many years. While Martin Guerre is gone, a man named Arnaud du Tilh arrives at Martin’s village and claims to be Martin Guerre. Bertrande, who is Guerre’s wife, Guerre’s sisters, and many of the villagers, accepts the imposter. After almost three years of being happily married, Bertrande takes the fraud to court under pressure of Pierre Guerre, her stepfather and Guerre’s brother. Arnaud du Tilh is almost declared innocent, but the real Martin Guerre appears in the courthouse. Throughout this tale, many factors of the peasant life are highlighted. The author gives a very effective and detailed insight to a peasant’s life during the time of Martin Guerre. Davis does a successful job of portraying the peasant lifestyle in sixteenth century France by accentuating the social, cultural, and judicial factors of everyday peasant life.
Davis gives various examples of the social norms that peasants lived under during the sixteenth century. When Sanxi, Guerre’s father, and his family decided to leave their village, Davis states that the majority of men who leave their village do so because they “were usually not heir to their family’s property, as was Sanxi Daguerre, but younger brothers who could not or would not remain in the ancestral household” (Davis 6). This highlights the idea that being the heir to the family’s inheritance is a great indicator of how one’s life as a peasant would carry on. It is very likely that if one is the heir, then the individual shall stay at their property and assume the role as head of the household once the “s...


... middle of paper ...


... insight into how the peasant judicial system attempted to benefit the peasants but was mostly filled with inadequacies.
Davis addresses various important factors in a peasant’s life. She highlights many components of peasant society, including their social classes and how their society values property in different ways. Davis also includes the peasants’ culture. She elaborates on the importance of children and the consequences of not being able to produce children. She also explains typical marriage procedures and customs. Lastly, Davis talks about some of the laws and common uses of the judicial system by peasants. By incorporating these factors into her book Davis is successful at recreating life for peasants in France during the sixteenth century.



Works Cited

Davis, Natalie Zemon. The return of Martin Guerre. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1983.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Return of Martin Guerre by Natalie Davis Essay

- The Return of Martin Guerre by Natalie Davis The Return of Martin Guerre written by Natalie Davis gives the audience a rare glimpse into the world of peasant life in sixteenth century France. It also allows a modern day audience a chance to examine and to compare their own identities and questions of self. What makes the story so interesting to modern day viewers and readers is how relevant the story and the people in it are to our own times. This story is about a history of everyday people rather than royalty and generals, history's usual subjects....   [tags: Natalie Davis Martin Guerre]

Powerful Essays
1452 words (4.1 pages)

The Return of Martin Guerre Essay

- The Return of Martin Guerre Historian Natalie Zemon Davis wrote an informative novel about the lives of peasants in the sixteenth century. Entitled The Return of Martin Guerre, Davis tells a true story about a law suit against a man claiming to be someone he is not. She familiarizes the reader with peasantry, laws, and moral attitudes of the time. The story begins in 1527 with a family move from the French Basque country to the village of Artigat. There the Daguerre family settled and started a tileworks business; a prosperous business in the sixteenth century....   [tags: Natalie Zemon Davis French History Peasants]

Powerful Essays
829 words (2.4 pages)

The Return of Martin Guerre Essay

- The Return of Martin Guerre The story was based in the early 1550's, a young peasant, Martin Guerre from Artigat had left his wife Bertrande and their son Sanxi and their inheritance to seek adventure in Spain as a mercenary. After leaving his family for nearly nine years a man claiming to be Martin returns to the village to claim his wife and land. Bertrande accepts the man as being her husband and they have another child together. Martin has a dispute with Pierre over the management of the family estate and ownership of the rents from Matins land during his absence....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
490 words (1.4 pages)

Book Review of "The Return of Martin Guerre" Essay

- In The Return of Martin Guerre, one man's impersonation of an heir from an influential peasant family in the French village of Artigat ultimately leads to his public execution. The tale of Arnaud du Tilh alias Pansette (meaning "the belly") is full of ironies, not the least of which is his death at the hands of a man who by some accounts harbored some admiration for the quick-witted peasant. Set in a time and place where a hardly discernible line separated proper behavior from that which was grounds for death, du Tilh was guilty of more than one serious charge....   [tags: Book Reviews]

Powerful Essays
817 words (2.3 pages)

Essay about Wife of Martin Guerre

- Throughout my travels I had always been mistaken for Martin Guerre, that is how I have come to be here today. He was always spoken about with such respect. A dignified young man, from a well respected peasant family, it was a let down to me that I myself was not a respected man like this Martin. As these occurrences continued to happen I began to wonder about his life, why such a well respected man could leave his wife and son behind, I had been told that he had left his family in Artigues for many years, and they were waiting for his return....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
718 words (2.1 pages)

The Return Of Martin Guerre Essay

- Several individuals in this course displayed ideas that were different from the norm in their society. The dominant group or worldview in their society marginalized them, but they found ways to defy the dominant group or they created an alternative environment where they could pursue their goals without being affected by others. These individuals have utilized the past to base their actions for the goal of transforming the social order, however, there were problems that arose from the usage of the past....   [tags: Communism, Communist state, Marxism]

Powerful Essays
1747 words (5 pages)

Essay about The Wife of Martin Guerre, by Janet Lewis

- In Janet Lewis’s “The Wife of Martin Guerre”, Bertrande, the protagonist, is a sixteenth century woman who is thrown into a loveless marriage at the age of eleven, at the age of fourteen her mother dies, and once she has finally started developing feelings for this man whom she has been forced to marry, he leaves her in order to save himself from his angry father who he stole seed from. Several years after Martin leaves, Bertrande is introduced to a man who claims to be Martin Guerre, who is really an imposter....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Betrayal, Victimhood]

Powerful Essays
605 words (1.7 pages)

The Wife Of Martin Guerre Essay

- Arnaud du Tilh, a rogue and an impostor, deserved punishment for his crimes, and that is what he received. Arnaud, a man once thought by people to be unmistakably Martin Guerre, was sentenced to death. Perhaps in this day an age, a punishment such as this would be excessively severe, however in Arnaud's time it was considered just. A question can be asked whether Martin Guerre deserves such a punishment as well, because of his actions. Martin Guerre never broke any laws like that of Arnaud du Tilh, however in a moral sense, Martin's actions were down at Arnaud's level, perhaps even lower....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
461 words (1.3 pages)

Reasons for the Peasant´s Revolt Essay

- The Peasant’s Revolt occurred in 1525 because the wealth of the nation was not being distributed among the people equivalent, in conjunction with the wealth not being equally divided the sharecropper wanted serfdom to be abolished. The farmhands used the Word of God to show they were in the right to rebel. Public affairs also had a role in the revolution. The laborers forced the hand of the nobles to collaborate in the insubordination. The upper class men had all the wealth in the world at the tips of their fingers while the lower classes didn’t have two pennies to rub together....   [tags: revolution, nobles, peasants, economic]

Powerful Essays
744 words (2.1 pages)

The wife of martin guerre Essay

- “…how can I deny the truth?” Although Bertrande is well-intentioned, her actions bring misery to everyone. Discuss. The notion of Bertrande de Rols in The Wife of Martin Guerre as having good intentions suggests not only that she was mindful of her own feelings in her pursuit of the truth, but also of the feelings of others. However, Bertrande’s intentions were to cleanse her soul and absolve herself from sin by indicting the impostor, Arnaud du Tilh. Yet, she undertakes this task considering the despair it would inflict upon the mesnie....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
645 words (1.8 pages)