Hey there! I'm also taking the HAT in a few days and I'm struggling on it as well... But I'd say you did really well! I'm trying to assess your essay through the marking scheme for this paper in 2021 (I find it really useful, here's the link: https://www.history.ox.ac.uk/files/cdadmissionshatmarkingscheme2021pdf
... you can also find more papers and marking schemes on https://www.history.ox.ac.uk/history-admissions-test-hat
) "The fact it was transcribed by Andrews, a wealthy American, equally limits the extent to which Madeleine’s lifestyle is accurately portrayed as it overlooks cosmopolitan interactions she could have had and solely focuses on her peasant lifestyle."
I think that it's great that you've pointed out the discrepancy between Andrews' translation of Madeleine's account and the actual folklore itself - maybe you could have also touched on how he might not have been able to translate the message of the story by being fully faithful to Madeleine's own interpretation due to his status as a wealthy American as well as other factors? I agree with most of your other points and it's great that you've mentioned food, eating, parent-child relationships, gender roles and etc.
Also I was just really curious about this point you've made: "Moreover, Delicamp’s retelling of ‘the voice comes from this cow’s stomach’ suggests that the supernatural interacts much with Delicamp’s mundane life as also demonstrated by the folktale itself. Moreover, supernatural assumptions perhaps evokes the lack of education of Delicamp who is previously thought of as ‘illiterate’."
This is actually so cool because I did not think about it all. But I'm not sure how it reflects her everyday life? I'd say perhaps this has more to do with her view of the world (let me know your thoughts on this!!)
I'm an international student and the way we write essays here is really different from how you guys do it over in the UK (I'm assuming you're from the UK, haha!) I was wondering if you could also have a look at this essay I've written (on the same question) and see if you have any thoughts on it? (It's really poorly written because I didn't have time to write and I think I might have been a bit too rigid with my points...)
Through Madeleine Delicamp’s version of this story, we can learn about the harsh social conditions Madeleine Delicamp was met with as a poor Italian migrant, as well as a more realistic view that the her world may have condoned neglect and exploitation. Here, I define “circumstances” as the social conditions she had been living in, such as everyday life. I define “view of the world she inhabited” as the way Madeleine Delicamp had chosen to interpret the story as a lens of expressing her opinion towards her experience in the world she inhabited.
To begin with, the story may possibly reflect the rather harsh conditions of Madeleine Delicamp’s everyday life through serving as an analogy for the conditions of her life. For instance, the beginning of the story mentions the woman “boiling beans in a large cauldron”, with a widowed beggar asking for the beans. Perhaps in a more literal sense, the beans the woman had been cooking might have been derived from the food Madeleine Delicamp had cooked in real life. The woman also says, “If I give you a plateful there will be so much the less for me”: this may show that commodities such as beans may have been scarce among the poor or those who had farmed. This might be a reflection of what Madeleine Delicamp, who was part of the impoverished, might have experienced in terms of food and drink. Another reflection of Madeleine Delicamp’s everyday life would be in the part where the thieves had tried to steal a cow from the stable that belonged to a farmer. In “While this happened the master came in, went round the stable and found nobody”, it can be inferred that, in reality, the cows that were raised among the farmers might have been subject to much thefts, regardless of whether these attempts were successful. All in all, this would reflect that Madeleine Delicamp led an impoverished, hunger-stricken and harsh life in farming.
However, such a conclusion must be drawn with caution: as we cannot be sure of the extent of the deviation of Delicamp’s interpretation of the story from the original or the more mainstream versions, and hence, whether these small details were truly or fully reflective of Madeleine Delicamp’s social circumstances. Moreover, referring to my latter example in the above, we are unsure of whether Madeleine Delicamp’s identity as an illiterate Italian migrant would make it possible for her to assume the role of the master of a farm; hence, if the analogy of the cow theft was an addition to the story by Delicamp, it might not have happened to herself per se, but rather, part of the common experience of the farmers she had known.
I interpret Madeleine’s view of the world as a more realistic perspective that the world had condoned exploitation towards perhaps the impoverished or the vulnerable, which would constitute a major theme of the story. This could be exemplified through the detailing of the exploitation of children. For instance, upon seeing children coming out of her cauldron, the woman in the story says, “my husband will kill me if he sees this swarm; but I will get rid of them”, and proceeds to have all of the children’s heads cut off, before lamenting that “if I had kept one he would have helped me now”. Madeleine Delicamp very pessimistically delivers the analogy that poor families at the time were unable to support their children, which might result in the neglect that would equate to, perhaps, spiritually killing the children. Moreover, Madeleine Delicamp’s variation of the story compares the size of a child to that of a bean: this might also add onto Pequeletou’s triviality, and perhaps the neglect Madeleine might have been believed the world had condoned on children. Moreover, Pequeletou was later “obliged” to go with the thieves that his father had sold him off to in order to become rich: this may carry the implication that children at the time were expected to help with the household or even alleviating the harsh conditions of their family, which would cause families to “abandon” or “lend… to anyone” their children, resulting in exploitation. Therefore, Madeleine Delicamp might have seen through the neglect and exploitation in the world and incorporated it into her own variation of the story, although, we must take this with great caution as, again, we cannot be sure of how much her interpretation deviated from the original, and hence, whether her interpretations had truly been reflective of her world.