Calico Captive
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"Calico Captive" Characters Analysis

By Elizabeth George Speare

historical fiction | 288 pages | Published in NaN

In the year 1754, the stillness of Charlestown, New Hampshire, is shattered by the terrifying cries of an Indian raid. Young Miriam Willard, on a day that had promised new happiness, finds herself instead a captive on a forest trail, caught up in the ebb and flow of the French and Indian War. It is a harrowing march north. Miriam can only force herself to the next stopping place, the next small portion of food, the next icy stream to be crossed. At the end of the trail waits a life of hard work and, perhaps, even a life of slavery. Mingled with her thoughts of Phineas Whitney, her sweetheart on his way to Harvard, is the crying of her sister’s baby, Captive, born on the trail. Miriam and her companions finally reach Montreal, a city of shifting loyalties filled with the intrigue of war, and here, by a sudden twist of fortune, Miriam meets the prominent Du Quesne family, who introduce her to a life she has never imagined. Based on an actual narrative diary published in 1807, Calico Captive skillfully reenacts an absorbing facet of history.


Estimated read time: 7 min read

List of Characters

Character NameRole
Miriam WillardProtagonist
Pierre ParatAntagonist
Eunice WilliamsSupporting Character
David WillardSupporting Character
Hannah WillardSupporting Character
Abigail WillardSupporting Character

Role Identification

In the book "Calico Captive" by Elizabeth George Speare, the protagonist is Miriam Willard. She is a young woman who experiences captivity after being taken by the Native Americans during the French and Indian War. The antagonist of the story is Pierre Parat, a French soldier who is responsible for capturing Miriam and her family.

Character Descriptions

  • Miriam Willard: Miriam is a strong-willed and determined young woman. She is described as having long dark hair and a fair complexion. Miriam is kind-hearted and compassionate, always looking out for the well-being of others.
  • Pierre Parat: Pierre is a French soldier who captures Miriam and her family. He is depicted as a tall and menacing figure. Pierre is cunning and manipulative, using his power to control and intimidate others.
  • Eunice Williams: Eunice is a young girl who is also taken captive along with Miriam. She is described as being timid and fearful. Eunice relies on Miriam for support and guidance throughout their captivity.
  • David Willard: David is Miriam's younger brother. He is portrayed as a brave and adventurous boy. David often finds himself in dangerous situations but manages to stay strong and resilient.
  • Hannah Willard: Hannah is Miriam's younger sister. She is depicted as being innocent and naive. Hannah relies on Miriam for protection and comfort during their captivity.
  • Abigail Willard: Abigail is Miriam's mother. She is a nurturing and protective figure. Abigail does her best to keep her family safe and together during their captivity.

Character Traits

  • Miriam Willard: Determined, compassionate, strong-willed, kind-hearted.
  • Pierre Parat: Manipulative, cunning, intimidating, menacing.
  • Eunice Williams: Timid, fearful, reliant, vulnerable.
  • David Willard: Brave, adventurous, resilient, strong.
  • Hannah Willard: Innocent, naive, reliant, trusting.
  • Abigail Willard: Nurturing, protective, strong, resilient.

Character Background

  • Miriam Willard: Miriam is a young woman who grew up in a small New England town during the French and Indian War. She comes from a loving and close-knit family. Miriam has had little exposure to the outside world but possesses a strong sense of morality and compassion.
  • Pierre Parat: Pierre is a French soldier who is stationed in the frontier during the French and Indian War. He is driven by a desire for power and control. Pierre has a history of ruthlessness and manipulation.
  • Eunice Williams: Eunice is a young girl who is the daughter of a minister. She has grown up in a sheltered and religious household. Eunice is unaccustomed to the hardships of captivity and struggles to adapt.
  • David Willard: David is Miriam's younger brother. He is adventurous and curious, always seeking new experiences. David has a deep love for his family and is willing to take risks to protect them.
  • Hannah Willard: Hannah is Miriam's younger sister. She is innocent and trusting, often relying on others for guidance and protection. Hannah finds comfort and support in her family during their captivity.
  • Abigail Willard: Abigail is Miriam's mother and the backbone of the family. She is strong and resilient, always putting her family's needs before her own. Abigail draws on her inner strength to navigate the challenges of captivity.

Character Arcs

  • Miriam Willard: Miriam undergoes a significant character arc throughout the story. Initially, she is filled with fear and uncertainty as she faces captivity. However, as time passes, Miriam becomes more resilient and courageous. She learns to adapt to her surroundings and finds strength in her relationships with others.
  • Pierre Parat: Pierre's character arc revolves around his descent into darkness. Initially, he is portrayed as a menacing and manipulative figure. As the story progresses, his actions become increasingly ruthless and cruel. Pierre's lust for power ultimately leads to his downfall.
  • Eunice Williams: Eunice's character arc centers around her transformation from a timid and fearful captive to a brave and independent young woman. Through her friendship with Miriam and the challenges she faces, Eunice discovers her inner strength and learns to stand up for herself.
  • David Willard: David's character arc revolves around his growth from a naive and adventurous boy to a responsible and protective young man. Throughout the story, David learns the importance of family and develops a deeper understanding of the world around him.
  • Hannah Willard: Hannah's character arc focuses on her journey from innocence to resilience. Initially, she relies heavily on others for support and protection. However, as the story unfolds, Hannah learns to trust her own instincts and finds her inner strength.
  • Abigail Willard: Abigail's character arc highlights her unwavering strength and resilience in the face of adversity. Throughout the story, she remains a steady and nurturing presence for her family, providing them with comfort and guidance.


  • Miriam and Pierre: Miriam's relationship with Pierre is one of captivity and manipulation. Pierre uses his power over Miriam to control and intimidate her. Miriam, on the other hand, resists Pierre's attempts to break her spirit and remains determined to protect her family.
  • Miriam and Eunice: Miriam and Eunice form a strong bond during their captivity. Miriam becomes a source of strength and support for Eunice, who relies on her guidance and friendship. Together, they navigate the challenges of their situation and find solace in their shared experiences.
  • Miriam and David: Miriam and David share a close sibling bond. Throughout their captivity, they rely on each other for support and protection. Miriam feels a deep sense of responsibility towards David and does everything she can to keep him safe.
  • Miriam and Hannah: Miriam and Hannah have a nurturing and protective relationship. Miriam takes on the role of a mother figure to Hannah, providing her with comfort and guidance. Hannah looks up to Miriam and finds strength in her presence.
  • Miriam and Abigail: Miriam's relationship with her mother, Abigail, is one of mutual love and support. Abigail is a source of strength and guidance for Miriam, and Miriam looks to her mother for wisdom and comfort. Together, they navigate the challenges of captivity and remain resilient.
  • Eunice and David: Eunice and David form a friendship based on their shared experiences and vulnerabilities. They support each other throughout their captivity and find solace in their companionship.
  • Eunice and Hannah: Eunice becomes a protective figure for Hannah, who looks up to her for guidance. Eunice helps Hannah navigate the challenges of captivity and provides her with emotional support.
  • Eunice and Abigail: Eunice looks to Abigail as a mother figure during their captivity. Abigail provides Eunice with comfort and guidance, helping her navigate the hardships they face.
  • David and Hannah: David takes on a protective role towards Hannah, ensuring her safety and well-being. Hannah looks up to David and relies on his strength and bravery.
  • David and Abigail: David shares a close bond with his mother, Abigail. She is a source of comfort and guidance for him, and he looks to her for support and protection.

The relationships between the characters in "Calico Captive" play a crucial role in shaping their experiences and their ability to navigate the challenges of captivity. Each relationship contributes to the overall character development and adds depth to the story.