Wednesday, August 15, 2012

When Does Retribution Become Revenge?

Chapter  4
When Does Retribution Become Revenge?
"The British had not only killed her real family, but her Shawnee family as well. It wasn't fair and it wasn't right. They had to do something. She wanted to strike back at the British."  pg. 22
In chapter 3 we are faced with a very angry little girl. Who can blame Calico for being angry after what we had just read in the previous chapters? Calico's parents had tried their best to shield their daughters from the tensions between the British, French and the native populations. If you will recall her father was French and her mother was British. Calico and Rose were born in 1756, right in the middle of the French and Indian War. The French and Indian War had just ended a year before our story takes place. She would have known about the battles. 

Being raised around the Shawnee and by parents who had abandoned Catholicism to practice the Shawnee religion, Calico would have also known about the law of retribution. In the Shawnee culture retribution was a common punishment for crime. Punishment was double if the victim was a woman.   If someone murdered another person the victim's family had every right to seek a life for a life. But take a deeper look at what Calico is wanting. Calico isn't wanting to punish someone for the murder of her parents. She asking for payment for all the Shawnee who had died. That's revenge not retribution. The Shawnee have gathered in the council house to discuss the matter because it is a tribal issue and not a personal one. They have just returned from war against the British and they are harboring a fugitive (remember the British are after Pierre because he is French and should not be in Kentucky at all). If Alexander and Pierre were too take retribution on behalf of Calico then the other family members of the Shawnee who had been killed would be allowed as well. What Calico seeks is war not retribution. 

What do you think the tribe should do about the murders?

Do you think Little Owl is being mean to Calico in this chapter or not?

If you were Calico what would you have done?

Knowing as little as you know of Rose, how do you think she is handling the situation?

Who is your favorite character so far and why?


  1. Little Owl does not seem to be mean to Calico. Stern yes, but I detect a bit of parental concern on his part toward Calico at this point in the book.