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A Look At Historical Fantasy

Amna Malik

on 9 February 2014

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Transcript of Westmark

Questions & Answers
How would the story be different if it were told from the perspective of Chief Minister Cabbarus?
Westmark is a fantasy novel by Llyod Alexander
Plot Development
The novel is divided into 4 parts:
A Look At Historical Fantasy
Published in 1981
The novel tells the story of political upheaval, which is often related to the French Revolution.
Part 1: The Printer's Devil
Part 2: The Oracle Priestess
Part 3: Florian's Children
Part 4: The Garden of Cabbarus
Part 1:
The Printer's Devil
Part 2:
The Oracle Priestess
Part 3:
Florian's Children
Part 4:
The Garden of Cabbarus
Main Characters
Theo - young printer's apprentice, orphan and protagonist
Mickle - poor street urchin
Caroline - Queen of Westmark
Augustine IV - King of Westmark
Augusta - Princess
Count Las Bombas - con artist
Florian - anti-monarchist and rebel
Dr. Torrens - court physician
Musket - partner to Las Bombas
Cabbarus - Chief Minister
Supporting Characters
Zara, Justin, Stock, Rina, Luther Jellinek, Sparrow, Weasel, Keller, Anton, Bodo, Contable Pohn, Skiet, Pankratz, Hanno
Just before dawn, militiamen break into the shop claiming the work being done to be illegal. Theo and Anton try to escape from the situation, resulting in the smash of the press, the braining of an officer, and the death of Anton.
Theo then joins Dr. Absalom (who is actually Count Las Bombas) and Musket to somewhere that he does not know. His journey is quiet interesting, as he realizes that The Count would do anything to get some money, including lying and robbery.
At the Palace, King Augustine is experiencing many collapses, due to being informed by his Chief Minister than none have been found with the true gift; the gift of talking to dead spirits.
Mickle is also awaken time and time again at night due to nightmares. Theo is often found at her side comforting her, and the two spent most of their time in each other’s company.
The group continues to do the Oracle Priestess act. Theo finds this wrong, and against his values, so he decides to abandon the group.
At the palace, the King has once again collapsed due to Dr. Torrens telling him that there is no use to search for the Princess as she is dead, and also claims that he will do all in his power to end this folly.
Cabbarus tells the King that Dr. Torrens is secretly working against him, and the King seems to agree because he banishes the court physician from the palace. Cabbarus sends a spy after Torrens, with an order to get him rid of.
Theo and the others finally reach the city of Born. There, he helps The Count and Musket in their rather dishonest money-making schemes.
Soon they are joined by Mickle; a street waif and an urchin; who The Count dresses up in black robes, claiming her to be the Oracle Priestess who is able to speak to the spirits of the dead.
Theo reaches Freyborg, where he meets Florian and his “children”, who find him work as a public letter writer. Theo tells them about his experience, and gets to know that Florian is a very well respected person who does things his own way.
A few days later, Theo opens a print shop. He chooses Zara, one of Florian’s children, as his devil.
Florian takes Theo to a man named Luther, someone who tells him that The Count, Musket and Mickle are locked up in Nierkeeping. Theo and Florian make plans on how to save his friends.
After being stabbed by Cabbarus’s spy, Dr. Torrens meets Keller, who is a politically minded journalist. The two travel up to Nierkeeping together.
Theo saves his friends, but his happiness does not last long. They are once again trapped by Chief Minister Cabbarus, who knows of the Oracle Priestess act, and has the group brought to the Old Juliana Palace.
Cabbarus has given orders to the group that if they wish to live, they must do the Oracle Priestess act in front of the King, Mickle acting as Princess Augusta. She must tell the King that he is too ill, and must give up his spot as King to his Chief Minister.
After coming to the Old Juliana, Mickle is often found looking at a trap door that leads to a water canal. Her memory comes rushing back to her, and she remembers her childhood.
During the act of the Oracle Priestess in front of the King and Queen, Mickle reveals her true past. It is then realized that
Mickle is the long lost Princess Augusta,
and the one responsible for her disappearance was none other than Cabbarus.
After the King's and Queen's reunion with their daughter, Cabbarus is sent into exile, Theo on a tour of Westmark, The Count and Musket off to Trebizonia, the royal family reunited...
How were Mickle's nightmares used as a technique of foreshadowing?
What are two Morals/Lessons that are learned in Westmark, and which characters helped to convey these messages?
Alexander, Lloyd. Westmark. New York: Penguin Putnam Incorporated, 1981. Print.
Prezi By: Amna Malik
(ENG1D-B, Unit 4 - "There's Nothing Like a Good Story")
Alexander, Lloyd. Westmark. New York: Penguin Putnam Incorporated, 1981. Print.
Prezi By: Amna Malik
(ENG1D-B, Unit 4, Key Question Reference)
Theo is, by occupation, a devil. As an orphan, he has been raised by Anton who is a printer in Dorning. Whilst out on duties one day, Anton leaves Theo in charge of the shop.
No sooner does a dwarf driver come in, giving Theo a task to complete a pamphlet for the “world renown” Dr. Absalom. Along with his master, Theo works night long to complete the assignment.
Cabbarus suggests to the King that the royal couple should adopt none other than himself to run for heir, since Princess Augusta is most assuredly dead. This leaves the King at the brink of another collapse, and the Queen in complete fury.
If the story was told from the perspective of Chief Minister Cabbarus, everything would change completely. First of all, Cabbarus would be the protagonist, and everyone else would be considered on the wrong side. Everyone has a high opinion of themselves, whether they are fictional or real. Chief Minister Cabbarus is shown to think very highly of himself throughout the book, so if the story was told from his point of view, he would obviously be “the good guy.” Secondly, he would make the reader believe that he deserves to be king. If the story was told from his perspective, he would be seen as hard working and loyal to the king; since he cares about his Majesty’s health; and deserving of claiming the title as king, instead of just being hungry for power. Last, but not least, the fact Cabbarus was the one responsible for the Princess’s death would be surprising and hard to believe. Since he would be thought so well of, it would seem like Mickle was lying and was just against him for no good reason. It would be a very interesting part of the story, perhaps the most shocking and exiting. It already is, but from another perspective. If the story were told from Cabbarus’s point of view, it would be hard to believe that he was the one guilty, whereas in the true story, it is hard to believe that Mickle, a street girl and a waif, is Princess Augusta.
Mickle’s bad dreams were a very important part of the story and were a great way of using foreshadowing. Right from the start, her nightmares told me that she was an important character. I was very surprised when Theo found her sobbing her heart out in her sleep. When Mickle first met the trio, she seemed like a confident character that had seen a lot, but still continued on with her life. She had lived with two people, had seen the deaths of both, and talked about it like she knew it was going to happen someday. Seeing her frightened in her sleep was quite a shock to me at first; I did not think about what the events could be foreshadowing. All of her dreams were clues that she was Princess Augusta who had been drowned and rejected help by Chief Minister Cabbarus during a game of hide and seek. All of these events were in here dream; drowning in a well, evil laughs, and happy games of hide-and-seek with her parents that had a bad ending.
Westmark is a very effective book; along with getting readers engaged and interested, Lloyd Alexander also teaches some very important lessons. First, through Theo's experiences, we see that sticking to morals and values may not always be easy, but it will be the better choice. Secondly, we learn to never abuse power. We see this through Cabbarus's experience - he had a very high role at the palace first, but his greed and hunger for more power ultimately led him to his downfall.
... for now.
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