Study Guide

A Little Princess Isolation

By Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Chapter 1

And upstairs in the locked room Sara and Emily sat on the floor and stared at the corner round which the cab had disappeared, while Captain Crewe looked backward, waving and kissing his hand as if he could not bear to stop. (1.72)

When her papa leaves her at the boarding school in gloomy old London, Sara is left with only Emily, who is—no offense--not exactly an actual human being. And we're a little creeped out that this narrator is talking about Emily like she is a human, to be honest.

Chapter 7
Sara Crewe

In fact, she herself scarcely remembered anything but that she walked up and down, saying over and over again to herself in a voice which did not seem her own, "My papa is dead! My papa is dead!" (7.155)

Well, this isn't depressing at all. Sara doesn't even have a friend to talk to about her loss, so she's left talking to herself. Someone get this girl a grief counselor, STAT.

Chapter 8

Miss Minchin made it so easy that at last they scarcely saw each other at all. (8.40)

When Sara is at her lowest point, Miss Minchin makes it her special, personal goal to separate the little girl from her friends even more. Nice lady.

"She is like the others," she had thought. "She does not really want to talk to me. She knows no one does." (8.37)

It's pretty mean (and messed up) of all the other girls to start ignoring Sara once she's dressed poorly, but at least we find out that Ermengarde isn't going to be like that. So, that's one friend, at least.

Chapter 9
Sara Crewe

"It's a lonely place," she said. "Sometimes it's the loneliest place in the world." (9.38)

Even though Sara tries to keep a stiff upper lip (yes, very British of her), she still can't help admitting it sometimes—her situation is kind of a bummer.

Chapter 10

So their visits were rare ones, and Sara lived a strange and lonely life. (10.1)

Even with her friends, Sara has a bleak social life. Her iPhone has no new messages. Her email inbox is empty. Her Facebook newsfeed is silent. Her … you get the idea. When most tween girls would be texting 200 messages a day, Sara is totally alone.

There had grown in her mind rather a strange feeling about Emily, who always sat and looked on at everything. It arose in one of her moments of great desolateness. (10.26)

True fact: dolls don't make good companions, because they can't talk back to you or commiserate or even give you a friendly pat on the back. Nice try, though. This passage really drives home how lonely Sara is.

Chapter 11

As Sara looked toward him he looked toward her. The first thing she thought was that his dark face looked sorrowful and homesick. (11.6)

Sara is so lonesome that she will make friends with anyone, even the monkey from next door. And notice how she assigns the monkey the exact same feelings that she herself has: they're both foreign creatures living alone in a strange city.

Chapter 18

Glad as she was for Sara's sake, she went up the last flight of stairs with a lump in her throat and tears blurring her sight. There would be no fire tonight, and no rosy lamp; no supper, and no princess sitting in the glow reading or telling stories—no princess! (18.106)

Ugh, this is just the worst. Good for Becky for trying to be happy for her friend, but it's hard when it means she'll be alone now. Luckily, Sara isn't going to forget what it feels like to be alone.


"I want to go there," she cried. "I—I haven't any mamma in this school." (4.49)

That's an incredibly effective way to get what you want, Lottie. Wear that motherlessness badge proudly.

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