Caleb’s Crossing Part 3 Summary & Analysis

Geraldine Brooks

Caleb’s Crossing

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Caleb’s Crossing Part 3 Summary & Analysis

Part 3: Anno 1715 Aetatis Suae 70 Great Harbor

Chapter I Summary

As the heading of this part of the book indicates, many years have passed. Bethia tells us that she often cannot sleep through the night. Indeed, she is ill and will die soon. She has recently been reading over the journal entries she wrote many years ago. She feels both pained and freed at reading these entries. Bethia is about to die, she explains, and she feels almost relieved as dying is easier than mourning the dead.

Chapter II Summary

Bethia explains that she remained at her job at the buttery for one year. She educated herself during this time by listening to lectures through the buttery hatch and read as much as possible before going to bed.

She recalls that there were many social hardships. Most conspicuously, Caleb and Joel suffer because there is a scarcity of food for those who do not receive extra supplies from their families. Bethia does supply her hungry friends with some scraps of food when she can.

Caleb suffers additional persecution because he refuses to participate in the system of serving an upperclassman. Good fortune comes to Joel and Caleb when it is revealed that their tutor, who was hired for low wages, is an alcoholic. Chauncy finds it necessary to take charge of Caleb and Joel himself, which results in an improvement in their education and their quality of life.

Chapter III Summary

After the time agreed upon between Samuel and Bethia expires, he asks again for her hand in marriage. This time, she agrees and they are quickly married.

News comes that Anne has settled successfully among the Takemmy. Makepeace, who brings the news, seems much more content and happy than he previously did. He has married a widow with a young child and his new life has given him satisfaction and a sense of purpose. His acquisition of property from this marriage in fact allows him to give some of his property to Bethia, which means that Samuel can advance his studies more rapidly. Thus, Bethia and Samuel depart for Padua, where Samuel will study medicine.


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