Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012 12:04:40 AM
At first glance the cover of the book Alanna the First Adventure by Tamora Pierce was misleading. I looked at the book and thought that there was a pretty young boy clad in a tunic and boots standing next to his horse. After I read the first few chapters I realized that the boy was in fact the character Alanna masquerading as a male in order to become a knight. I kept reading for at least an hour. On my first read through, I was captivated by the fast-paced plot and magical elements in the story. On my second read three years later, I identified the deeper themes in the story, such as self-assurance, independence, and struggle.
At the beginning of the book I caught Alanna at a pivotal point in her life. In her world, noble-born girls like herself, would go to the convent and learn to become ladies. Boys like her brother Thom, became knights. Alanna’s father was completely oblivious to the desires of his children, their futures were seemingly final. A weak-minded character would have complied with the set path. However Alanna was no such character. The gender roles were clearly defined for her and Alanna’s future appeared determined. It would have been so simple to follow this route but she did not. Instead Alanna disguised herself as a boy and went to the palace to follow her passions to become a knight. This heavy decision was not made lightly. However, Alanna maintained an unwavering self-assurance that guided her through her endeavors and challenges.
Alanna’s confidence in all of her decisions served as a model for me. She was completely conscious of what she wanted and made possibly chaotic choices in order to achieve what she wished. Though her situation was on a much larger scale, it showed me that nothing in life was final. I was my determining factor in whatever it was I chose to do. Since I was often unsure of my choices and what I wanted, Alanna’s audacity inspired me to trust myself. She knew she could achieve her goal, it was only a matter of getting to a place that would help her to do so. Her fierce independence only solidified the goals I had set out for myself. Alanna put her ambitions before hasty decisions that would hinder her, such as marriage and children. This kind of ideology is exactly what I want to incorporate into my life.
Alanna knew from the very beginning that she was meant for greater things than that which people expected of her. For her, there was not a challenge in following the easy path.