Structure

The short story “The Familiar” by Andre Norton follows a tradition…

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Beginning

The short story beings in media res, when an unnamed citadel (fortified area around the castle) is invaded: “The west wall was breached two hours after dawn, for the invaders had their own magic, of a sort— a powder tha…

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Middle

The rising action comprises tension points leading up to the climax and introduces more magical elements.

First, we find out that the housemaid is panicking and running away, trying to flee the invaders. Then we find out that the narrator is able to manipulate the young girl who lives in the house: “A moment later she brought me forth. I could feel her surprise at those actions, which I had directed: why should she place herself in peril to retrieve what she saw as a toy?” (p. 55, ll. 32-34)

At this point, we find out that the narrator is a being who takes on the form of a toy, named Fossi.

The rising action follows the actions of the girl as influenced by the magic…

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Ending

The falling action is rather long and presents Fossi’s effort to make Jeseca realize that she should not use her powers to kill and take revenge, but to help others and do good:

‘The dealing of death is not the best always way to pay a score. A wilder of Power can kill, true, but he—or she— can also heal; and for the truly Wyse, the binding up of the world’s wounds is a far greater task.’ (p. 61, ll. 4-7)

The girl, ho…

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