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The Last Silk Dress by Ann Rinaldi

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The novel, The Last Silk Dress, is written by Ann Rinaldi. It tells the story about a young girl named Susan Chilmark whose 14. Susan lives in Richmond, Virginia during the Civil War. In the beginning of the novel, Susan is for the war and supports it. Susan helps the wounded and collects dresses to make a balloon for the confederacy. All while this is going on she has to deal with her mom who calls Susan a Yankee brat and hits her. Once her father dies from fighting in the war, her mother tells her secrets about her family that Susan wishes she had never found out about. After finding out the secrets she goes to live with her older brother, Lucien, who her mother doesn’t like at all. While living with Lucien she meet Tim, who’s a Yankee. While talking with Tim and getting to know Tim, she learns that she really doesn’t believe in what is going on with the war and doesn’t want anything to do with it anymore. Susan’s view on the war changes and she begins to hate the war and doesn’t believe in it. While her views are changing on the war she decides to set the balloon her and her best friend, Connie, made with all the dress. The theme of loyalty to friends, family, country and beliefs has a major part in this novel, and is displayed in many different ways. Ann Rinaldi uses Susan to portray her view on the war from believing and supporting it to later wanting absolutely nothing to do with it and getting rid of everything that she had done to show she supported it. Ann Rinaldi is best known for her historical fiction writing and is an award winning writer. She first became interested in writing about historical fiction when her son became involved in Revolutionary Reenactments. I agree with Ann Rinaldi’s opinion on war at the end of the book when she had Susan getting rid of everything she had ever done to support it.





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