Catherine Called Birdy
“Corpus bones! I utterly loathe my life!” cries Catherine. Who wouldn’t, if they were in Catherine’s situation? In a book called Catherine, Called Birdy, by Karen Cushman, Catherine hates her life, for she has to face horrible suitors even though she doesn’t wish to marry. But while these suitors come and go, Birdy slowly starts to change in character. By the end of the novel, she has dramatically changed. Anyone who reads this novel should drop the book only when they come to realize, as Catherine does, to be kind, to be yourself, and to face your fears with courage.
Catherine, at fourteen, was sun-browned, gray eyed, and had poor vision. In the beginning, she was stubborn, and always wanted things to go her way. She was clever, and full of mischief. While possessing a sharp tongue, she was quite impatient and rude. Birdy changed during the life due to her miserable situation, and realizing how others in her shoes felt, and because several people along her path taught her lessons and positively influenced her.
Once again, one reason why Catherine changed was due to the factor that her situation was miserable, filled with suitors. Therefore, she realized how others in similar situations felt. For example, Catherine saw a poor ant hauling a heavy crumb to its home. Any time, though, it would get trampled by the noisy villagers. Catherine, on seeing the ant, connected its situation to her personal life. Her haul was the endless chores, and she, already was being crushed by the incessant amount of suitors.
Therefore, she didn’t want anyone, or in this case anything, to face the same problems she had to suffer. At the end, Birdy picked up the ant on the leaf, and gently placed it near an ant hole. According to the book, saving that miniature ant felt like saving the whole world to Catherine. This was because she had saved something else in her situation. Furthermore, at the Bartlemas Fair, where she was supposed to enjoy herself, she noticed a bear.
This unfortunate bear was forced to dance for the audience for one cruel man’s personal profit. It hadn’t been fed properly for days; Catherine could tell, for it was quite scrawny. Since it was not making enough money, the owner decided to feed it to a pack of angry dogs! Today, several would have attempted to stop this terrible event. But back then, this was very entertaining. No one was there to rescue the bear.
Luckily, Catherine, not only had a passion for animals, but also had personal experience for how it felt to be in a situation in which you are being tossed around for profit, nothing in your control. She was willing to go beyond the limits to be the star of the day. As a result, she gave away Shaggy Beard’s silver to buy the bear and set it free! Now, Catherine was, against her dreams, betrothed to Shaggy Beard, a revolting suitor. She had made an enormous sacrifice for the bear. As you can see, Catherine definitely changed because she noticed others were in the same desperate situation she was, from bears to ants. Of course, change doesn’t occur due to just one reason.
Birdy also changed because people along her way taught her lessons. For example, Jews taught her quite a few lessons. When the Jews came to stay at their house, people believed they had horns and were Devils’ workers. Also, it was believed that if you ate their food, you’ll become a Jew! Catherine discovered that Jews had no horns at all! They didn’t seem like Devil’s workers either; all they did was chat about and tell stories, just like Christians. A soft-eyed girl gave her something to eat.
When Catherine ate the food, she stayed just like she always was. Soon, Catherine realized that some stories were true, and some stories were just stories. She saw that she had to see things for herself before jumping to conclusions. In addition, an old Jewish woman taught Catherine a critical lesson. When Catherine craved for adventure, she disguised herself as a Jew, and left with them.
Later, when she took of the rouse, the Jewish woman told Catherine, “Remember, Little Bird, in the world to come, you will not be asked ‘Why were you not George’ or ‘Why were you not Perkin?’ but ‘Why were you not Catherine?'” In other words, she told Catherine to always be herself, no matter what is happening, because that’s what people appreciate you for. On the day of her wedding, Birdy ran away to her aunt’s house. She was planning to run away. But she realized her aunt couldn’t abet her. Suddenly, she remembered the old lady’s words. As a result, she decided to go back.
She knew no matter who she was married to, she would still be herself, making life hard for her suitors. In conclusion, the Jews taught Birdy several lessons. Adding on, Catherine’s mother taught Catherine a very critical lesson. Birdy always hated her father, for he was quick-tempered, slapped Catherine like nobody’s business, and was determined to marry her off to any rich man. On the other hand, lady Aislinn described her father as the stubborn knight. She told him about how he wouldn’t go until he received his share of land, and how for several days, rain or snow, he kept on debating.
Finally, he received his share of land, as the baron, who owed him land, was impressed. Catherine’s mother was also impressed. She knew his stubbornness had won her, so she got married. This story enabled Catherine to realize there were both good and bad sides of her father, and really anything in life. She could see that when she changes her point of view, something negative could really be positive.
Still, Birdy disliked her father, but she knew he was more than just a terribly mean father because someone showed their opinions from their point of view. In conclusion, from the Jews to lord Rollo, Catherine changed because others positively influenced her, and taught her life lessons. `Not only did Catherine learn something from her life, but so did I. I learned from this novel to be generous and kind, to have patience, to be yourself, and to be determined and courageous. In my life, I am bound to use these valuable lessons someday. Whenever I am waiting to get my results for a test back, or wait for a doctor’s appointment, I know I should be patient.
If I be myself, and not try to act like anyone else, I can find out people who admire me for who I am, so I don’t have to pretend for the rest of my life to be someone else. If I am ever in an intense contest, or in a peril, I must face my fears with courage and determination. Always, I should be generous kind. This means dropping some money next time you see a donation bin. As you can see, I can apply the lessons Catherine learned to my own life! As you can see, throughout the novel, Birdy changed whether it was because she felt sympathy or because others taught her life lessons along her path.
In the real world, you should remember Catherine, and all the lessons she learned throughout the novel. I assure you that anyone who possess those character traits are bound to be successful and admired. For example, a donor is recognized as a hero. Even if he doesn’t, he will have a satisfactory feeling that he truly did something useful in the world. A lion, even though it is not a human, bravely fights if it is being attacked. It demonstrates true courage, and that is how you will stand out in the society.
Those who are patient, at the end, always receive what they want. If you truly understand Catherine’s change and the traits she digested, success is just the addition of minor decorations.