The Good Master Study Guide

The Good Master By Kate Seredy

This is the story of Cousin Kate who leaves the city of Budapest to spend the summer on her uncle's ranch in the plains of Hungary in order to help her recuperate from an illness. Kate is a willful, disobedient, headstrong, and stubborn person, and her father has thus sent her with a letter to her uncle, explaining that she is not a delicate child in need of fresh country air. In fact, she direly needs the strong hand of her uncle, the "Good Master", who has a way of dealing with wild animals -- perhaps even, he hopes, wild children.

Kate's cousin (her uncle's son) Jansci begins the story at odds with Cousin Kate, but slowly, as she sees his competence and skill with the family's horses, she begins to respect him. Similarly, as the Good Master begins to redirect Cousin Kate's energies and she becomes less "the screaming little monkey" and more eager to learn the ways of the country, Jansci starts to respect her newfound docility and work ethic.

Kate learns to help plants grow, care for the farm animals, and pitch in to help her uncle's family, and slowly develops an entirely new outlook on life. The family takes her in, and they share several bonding experiences such as trips to the circus and the fair, traditional Christmas and Easter celebrations, and more.

Finally, Kate's father comes to retrieve his daughter and is so captivated by the transformation the Good Master has wreaked in his daughter that he decides to move out of Budapest and bring his family into the country to join his brother's.

Coming after The Good Master is it's sequel, The Singing Tree, which details the family's story through the rough period surrounding the Second World War.

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