How Old Was The Girl Who Played Esther In Orphan Esther Burr’s Journal – Her Life and Mine – Writing Essays

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Esther Burr’s Journal – Her Life and Mine – Writing Essays

The Diary of Esther Burr

Writing essays

When writing essays, you need to outline a topic. Here’s one outline that works for biographies or historical fiction.

Compare / Compare the main character’s life and your life.

Introduction: Introduce the three areas using a parallel structure to introduce these areas.

Area #1: Main Character’s Life Vs. My Life

Area #2: Main Character’s Life Vs. My Life

Area #3: Main Character’s Life Vs. My Life

Conclusion: Review the three areas using a parallel structure and summarize these areas.

Reading Esther’s Burr’s Journal made me think about how different her life seems from mine, so I chose the above outline for my essay. Born on February 13, 1732, Esther Edwards grew up in the home of the great theologian and famous Great Awakening preacher Jonathan Edwards. She later married Aaron Burr. Their son Aaron Burr Jr. became vice-president and, above all, challenged Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of the Treasury, to a duel. Hamilton died as a result.

The Diary of Esther Burr – Her Life and Mine

I knew nothing about Esther Burr until I read her diary. This diary opens on her ninth birthday, when she states that her mother put her pages together to make a diary. The girl who wrote her diary in 1741 lived a decidedly different life than mine. Yet we share in important ways. As we explore these similarities and differences, we will look at her relationship with her parents, her husband, and the Lord.

Immediately, Esther’s allusions to her parents struck me as very different. She referred to them as Mr. or Mrs. Edwards. Apart from being a very young child when it was Dad or Mom, I referred to my parents as Dad and Mom. While some of my peers used other names for their parents, I don’t know of anyone who referred to them as Mr. and Mrs. when talking about or to them. Furthermore, Esther would include other terms of respect such as “my honored father, Mr. Edwards.” I assume from the diary that when Esther spoke to them she called them father and mother. My mother also called her parents, father and mother. Growing up, I believe my parents expected and received more respect from my siblings and me than others. I grew up in a military family and that may have contributed to higher expectations than the general population. Even so, on the whole, I believe that respect for elders has declined considerably in my lifetime, and certainly quite a bit since the 1700s.

Later in the journal, I discovered that the journey from meeting a single to marriage had changed a lot since Esther Burr’s life. Aaron Burr, the preacher, visited Edward’s home for an extended period of time and Esther was surprised that day when it was her turn to prepare breakfast for Mr. Burr and no one else came to breakfast. Mr. Burr proposed to her. Her answer: “If it pleases the Lord.” Later, Mr. Burr sent horses for Esther and her mother. Upon arrival, Aaron and Esther married. She again referred to her husband as Mr. Burr. At 20, she became a busy pastor’s wife. Later, two children were born to them. When he had to preach or teach elsewhere, she missed him and even gave birth to Aaron Burr, Jr. in the absence of Mr. Burr. I too desire to show respect to my husband. Nowadays it is common for women to refer to their husbands by their first name unless they are talking to a child who should address him as “Mr….” While I don’t think we need to go back to this formality, as Christian wives we need to show respect to our husbands to them and to them. Furthermore, when we talk to others, we must not speak ill of our husband. Sure, even if not perfect, they are perfect for us. God uses spouses to sanctify each other. Reading Esther’s diary provides a great reminder for all of us.

Finally, we will explore Esther’s relationship with her Lord. Growing up in a pastor’s home, she experienced the “Great Awakening” from a very unique situation. She talked about how God used her parents in dealing with those who were convicted of sin. One example of Esther’s relationship with the Lord: “The air was filled with the music of the sleigh bells of the churchgoers as they passed by. And I thought of what is said in the Scriptures, of the bells, when he went into the holy place; and so the greater music of the church bells seemed to say to my soul, the holiness of the Lord!” (p. 22) Further, Esther quoted something her father preached that blessed her,

Ruth’s resolution: “Ask me not to leave you or turn away from you. (Ruth 1,16) I will never forget his words about God’s people. He said, “They are the most excellent and happiest society in the world. The God whom they have chosen as their God is their Father. He has forgiven them all their sins, and they are at peace with him. And he has allowed them all the privileges of children. As they have devoted themselves to God, so God gave himself to them… “Thy people shall be my people, and thy God mine, O God” pg 23

Yes, the knowledge that the holy and sovereign God of the universe is the God of his children gives us untold blessings. I don’t have to be the daughter of famous parents or married to a famous man to know that I am a child of this great God.

Getting to know Esther Burr through reading her diary enriched me. Accompanying the vast contrasts in our lives, I rejoice in the similarities. Her relationships with her parents, husband and her Lord mirror mine in many ways.

Epilogue:

Within six months of each other, the grandparents and parents of Sally Burr Reeves, age 4, and Aaron Burr Jr., age 2 died, leaving them orphans. Aaron Burr died at age 41. Months later, Jonathan Edwards died from the effects of a smallpox vaccination. Within 16 days, Esther Burr died. Six months after Jonathan’s death, Sarah died of dysentery. These individuals gave their all for Christ.

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