1. Of what nationality is Marguerite Ledoux? Why do the Sargents call her Maggie?
Marguerite Ledoux is of French nationality, having come to America from France with her uncle and grandmother some time before the beginning of the novel. The Sargents call her Maggie because there is a great deal of animosity against those of French nationality at the time due to war between England and France. The Sargents find it more comfortable to call her by a modified name for this reason as well as ease of pronunciation.
2. What happens to Marguerite's uncle as they approach the shores of America? What does Marguerite find most devastating about this?
As they approach the shores of America, an outbreak of disease spreads from a sailor on board the ship to Marguerite's uncle. Most likely the illness is the measles or smallpox. The illness takes the life of Marguerite's uncle. To add to Marguerite's devastation, the sailors toss all of her uncle's belongings over the side of the ship, including his beloved violin, to prevent further spread of the illness. All Marguerite is able to save of her uncle's is a button that she wears on a cord around her neck.
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