Study Guide

A Little Princess Suffering

By Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Please choose from the following list the phrase that best represents "fun": Endless chores, sleeping in a dingy attic with rats, being hungry, losing all of your clothes and toys.

Answer: Trick questions! None of it! In A Little Princess,poor Sara is thrust into a situation that is decidedly not at all fun when she loses all her money, her sole living relative, and is forced to work for her keep at the boarding school that she once attended as a star pupil. Rough times, eh? Yep. But she handles the suffering like a true Brit: stiff upper lip, good spirit, and, of course, she triumphs in the end.

Questions About Suffering

  1. Does Sara ever find her situation unbearable? Why or why not? What seems to be her lowest point?
  2. What do you think is worse on Sara—her emotional or physical suffering? 
  3. How does her situation compare to someone like Becky's? Would you say that Sara suffer more, less, or about the same as Becky?
  4. Does Miss Minchin deliberately make things worse for Sara? Is she actively trying to make Sara suffer?

Chew on This

Sara manages to adjust to going from a life of luxury to a hard-knock life by staying true to her own opinions and personality.

Structurally, the book shows the reader that when things are at their very worst, they can only get better—echoing something that Sara herself believes.

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