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  • J.B. Schaefer

A Teenager with an Attitude

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

When we look back on our teenage years, there are very few of us that can say we would have as much courage as Jeanne d'Arc - better known as Joan of Arc.

Born a peasant girl living in medieval France in 1412, a country which had long been torn apart by a bitter conflict with England known as the Hundred Years' War. England had gained the upper hand, and in 1420 Charles of Valois accused of his illegitimacy of the crown provided King Henry V the ruler of both England and France. His son, Henry VI would eventually succeed him by 1422 with England occupying much of northern France including Joan's village. Under the threat of invasion, Joan's family and other villagers were forced to abandon their homes.

By age 13, it is said that Joan began to hear voices which she attributed to messages being sent by God to help save France through means of force. In addition, she was to fulfill a divine mission taking a vow of chastity and installing Charles as its rightful king. Upon turning 16, her father attempted to arrange a marriage for her. An arrangement she was able to avoid as she successfully convinced a local court that she should not be forced to comply.

Her popularity continued to grow, as the young woman who resembled a popular prophecy, to be the virgin who was destined to save France. Initially, she would be rejected by the local magistrate, but she soon attracted a small band of followers believing she was sent by God to lead France from the tyranny of England. To hide her identity and gain more credibility with her soldiers, Joan cropped her hair, dressed in men's clothes, and made the eleven-day journey across enemy lines towards Charles, the crown prince's palace.

She would give him assurances that he was to become the King, and convinced him to provide her an army to fight against the English. Charles, against the advice of almost all of his counselors and generals, granted her request. By March of 1429, at the age of seventeen, Joan dressed in white armor and rode a white horse while leading several French assaults which drove her enemy into retreat. Joan of Arc's reputation grew far and wide among the French forces after obtaining several miraculous victories.

Ultimately, she and her followers fulfilled her promise by escorting Charles across enemy territory into Reims, thus enabling his coronation as King Charles VII by July 1429. Just as she had stated. According to Charles's favorite advisor, Georges de La Trémoille, Joan was becoming much too powerful. King Charles resisted her advice to retake Paris, instead, ordering her to defend a Burgundian assault on Compiégne. By the spring of 1430, in an effort to defend the town, she was thrown from her horse and left outside alone as the town's gates closed. She was taken captive by the English and ultimately ordered to answer to over seventy charges against her.

In an effort to distance himself for fear of being discredited, the French King Charles made no attempt to negotiate for the 18-year-old's release. Instead, she was convicted of witchcraft, heresy, and the crime of dressing like a man. After a year in captivity, Joan of Arc was taken to the old marketplace of Rouen and burned at the stake on May 30, 1431.

Joan of Arc defied her father's order of an arraigned marriage, commanded an army while grown men remained apathetic to a tyrannical government, endured rape and torture for over a year in captivity, and gave her life in the name of freedom. How many 20-year-olds have such an accomplished resume today?

In the dystopian Banned and Cancelled Series, the reader will find characters who have to make choices much like Joan of Arc. They can sit by and allow a government to rule, or they can do something to change the world for future generations. The second book of the series, Banned And Cancelled Volume II: Rebirth sees years of tyrannical rule by The Party which has spun the Inhabitation of North America into chaos. Byron's family finds themselves embroiled in a tumultuous uprising and is forced to take a stand.

In this shattered world, you can either assimilate or be one of the countless individuals finding themselves BANNED AND CANCELLED!

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