Summary of The Courage of Sarah Noble

Instructor: Jennifer Carnevale

Jennifer has a dual master's in English literature/teaching and is currently a high school English teacher. She teaches college classes on the side.

Facing our fears is never easy, and in Sarah's case, we can see why. In this lesson we will go on Sarah's journey through a summary of the story, 'The Courage of Sarah Noble' and learn how facing your fears can lead to strength and possibility.

''Keep Up Your Courage''

Life can be difficult. Sometimes we are faced with challenges that seem scary and impossible, but if we push through these experiences, new and great things could be waiting on the other side. The book, The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh, is the true story of an 8-year-old girl who faces more hardship than most people see in a lifetime.

The Journey (Chapters 1-3)

At the beginning of the story we find Sarah Noble, her father John, and their horse Thomas asleep in the woods. Her mother and seven siblings are back at their home miles away. Sarah and her father are going deep into the wilderness to build a house on a plot of land her father purchased from the Indians.

Sarah's mother could not bring her newborn baby on this trip, so Sarah offered to go along with her father and cook for him. Sarah was nervous, but her mother's words, ''Keep up your courage'' resonated in her mind. Sarah and John make it through their first night in the woods, both wondering what their futures will have in store for them.

The next night they come to a settlement, and a woman named Mistress Robinson allows Sarah and John to sleep in her home. Her husband is away, but her four children are there with her. Mistress Robinson makes a comment about John's poor choice of judgment by bringing a small child on this journey, and the children tell Sarah she will likely be killed by Indians. These comments put fear into Sarah's already anxious heart.

The next morning marks the last day of the journey to their new home, but Sarah doesn't feel like this place will be home. Sarah shares her fears about the Indians with her father, but he reminds Sarah they are good people. He also explains there are good and bad people in this world. He tells Sarah that their family will always help those in need. This talk builds Sarah's confidence. Sarah and her father make it to their new home, and her father finds shelter in a cave for them to start their new life while he builds their house.

Home Sweet Home (Chapters 4-6)

That night in the cave Sarah hears noises, but instead of her father comforting her by explaining each sound, Sarah is the one to ease the fear. It is in this moment we find a new Sarah Noble, one that is strong, wise, and full of courage.

The next day, John takes Thomas to work on the house and asks Sarah to stay behind. Fearful of being alone yet knowing she has to remain strong for her father, Sarah takes out her Bible and reads stories to comfort herself. As she is reading, she hears the patter of feet and notices that suddenly, she is surrounded by young Indian children. She is frightened, but remembers what her father told her. Sarah welcomes the children into her makeshift home and reads to them.

Sarah tries introducing herself, but she is ignorant to the fact that they do not speak English. She becomes frustrated, which causes the Indians to scatter. Sarah is very disappointed in herself and hopes they will come back. Soon enough, they do, and Sarah becomes friends with a brother and sister pair whom she calls Small John and Mary. They show her wild strawberries, and soon Sarah and her father begin trading with the Indians. She becomes close with the family of the children she played with. Their father, who John names Tall John, helps Sarah's father build the house.

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