Joan of Arc - Summary

The story of Joan of Arc almost ends with her death at age 19 for heresy. In her trial her accuser is also her judge and she is given no lawyer to talk with or to defend her. Her trial is a mockery of justice and she is imprisoned before her death. So exactly who is this teenager and why is she so hated by the English?

Joan is born in the Middle Ages during the Hundred Year War between France and England. She and her family are very religious. She is a peasant girl who never learns to read or write.

When Joan is thirteen, she begins to see visions and hear saints talking to her. What they say in her visions forever changes the history of France. 

The region of Aquitaine is in Southwestern France, but England controls it. The English attack the village where Joan and her family live and her family flees to safety. Joan sees firsthand the harsh treatment of the villagers by the English.

The Dauphin (son of the late King of France) wants the throne of France after his father died, but the English also want the French throne. Joan believes the voices are telling her to lead the French against the English, and help the Dauphin become King of France.

Women are able to fight in France; however, to trust your army to a teenage girl that has never been in a battle is asking a lot. Joan perseveres and is able to convince the Dauphin and his military leaders that she can win against the English. Joan is able to lead the French to victory at Orleans, even though she is wounded in battle. Afterwards, Joan sees the Dauphin, King Charles VII, become the King of France.

Joan continues to fight, but begins to lose some battles. In one of the battles, she is captured and sold to the English. The English try Joan for witchcraft, sorcery, heresy ... and ... for wearing men’s clothes. King Charles VII does nothing to help Joan, despite everything she has done for him.

Twelve charges are brought against her, but Joan never confesses. Her trial is a mockery and burning at the stake is her punishment. Her ashes are quickly scattered in the Seine. Because she dies for the French cause, Joan becomes a martyr. 

It takes about twenty-five years for her verdict to be overturned. Almost 500 years later, the Catholic Church canonizes Joan as a Saint. Those who persecute Joan end up in history as villains, while Joan of Arc becomes a model of a courageous teenager who fights for what she believes in and remains true to her convictions even while facing death. 

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 01, 1999

Updated Last Revision: Nov 09, 2016

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"Joan of Arc" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 01, 1999. Jun 01, 2020.
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