Study Guide

Crispin: Cross of Lead Power

By Avi

Power

Ever hear the phrase, "Might makes right"? It was made for Medieval Europe, and basically it means that whoever can throw the hardest punch, whether they're using money, property, armies, or an actual fist, gets to make the rules. And guess who those rules will favor?

In Crispin: The Cross of Lead, power comes across in three main ways. First is architecture—people who build large, strong buildings to protect their power generally get to keep it. Second is literal physical strength and power over another person's body, which we include here because physical strength leads to a third kind of power: the power conferred on a person through weaponry and the power they then exert over others through the use of force. In short, there's no escaping power in Medieval England.

Questions About Power

  1. Who is the most powerful person in the novel? Why? What does this tell you about power in the world of this book?
  2. What forms of power does Crispin have, if any? Are any of his weaknesses actually sources of power? Why or why not?
  3. What is the relationship of money to power in the novel? Do the poor have any powers the rich lack? Be specific, please.

Chew on This

All of John Aycliffe's power derives from the use of physical force.

All of Lord Furnival's power derives from his wealth.

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