Study Guide

A Little Princess Courage

By Frances Hodgson Burnett

Courage

Chapter 1
Sara Crewe

"I don't like it, papa," she said. "But then I dare say soldiers—even brave ones—don't really LIKE going into battle." (1.20)

Sara wouldn't be the first kid to compare going to school to the horrors of war, but she's going to keep that little chin of hers up—and face Miss Minchin's school even it if does seem horrible.

Chapter 9

She had sat so quietly that the rat had begun to take courage. (9.42)

Everyone has fears to conquer—even the rat in the corner of the attic. We're actually starting to think Melchisedec sounds like of cute.

Sara Crewe

"Beggars have nowhere to live," she said courageously. "I have a place to live in." (9.4)

Sara has to stay brave for Lottie; otherwise she'd probably just start crying again (like usual). This is a good example of how Sara believes that princesses have to set … good examples.

Chapter 11
Sara Crewe

"I was thinking," she answered grandly and politely, "that you did not know what you were doing." (11.37)

It takes some guts to stand up to Miss Minchin, who punishes Sara with horrible things like not giving her anything to eat for whole days. But Sara has too much courage to lie.

Chapter 13

"She is hungrier than I am," she said to herself. "She's starving." But her hand trembled when she put down the fourth bun. "I'm not starving," she said—and she put down the fifth. (13.58)

Talk about courage. Standing up to Miss Minchin is one thing, but actually giving away food that you could scarf down in a heartbeat—that's a totally different kind of courage.

Chapter 15
Sara Crewe

"I always was a thin child," she said bravely," and I always had big green eyes." (15.73)

Sara doesn't want to admit to just how starved and miserable she is. Why? Maybe because saying it would make it true—like telling the wrong kind of story about herself.

"I didn't want you to know," Sara said. "It would have made me feel like a street beggar. I know I look like a street beggar." (15.104)

For Ermengarde's sake, Sara keeps it together, even when her life is utterly depressing. She's like a leader putting on a brave face so her subjects don't panic.

Chapter 16

The comfort and happiness she enjoyed were making her stronger, and she had them always to look forward to. (16.54)

Thanks to the magical elves who trick her room out at night, Sara can soldier on through her everyday life. It's a lot easier to be courageous when you're warm and well-fed; that's just biology.

Chapter 18

"I –TRIED not to be anything else," she answered in a low voice—"even when I was coldest and hungriest—I tried not to be." (18.77)

It takes a whole lot of self-discipline to act as noble and princess-like as possible even when things are absolutely the pits. (Come on, don't you just want to give Sara a big hug at this point?)

Chapter 19

The mere fact of her sufferings and adventures made her a priceless possession. (19.1)

Sara has created her own courageous hero's narrative—and because of that, she's someone to be proud of. Although, you're not alone in thinking that it's a little weird how the Large Family treats her like a "possession."

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