Alison Shaw
Alison Shaw asked:

is it only me who's being driven mad by the incorrect use of thee(object) and thou (subject) in this book?

To answer questions about The Last Runaway, please sign up.
Lizzie Emery I emailed Tracy Chevalier to ask her about this. Apparently the Quakers used thee and thou two ways – correctly and incorrectly, but Tracy's research revealed that the incorrect way was more common, so she decided to go with it. I was pleased to hear this because it had been spoiling my enjoyment of the book, which I now think is her best yet.
D.L. Andersen Quakers used "thee" both as the accusative (object) and nominative (subject) form of the pronoun. I learned this when writing a historical fiction work of my own involving 19th century Quakers. It tripped up some of my beta readers as well but it is accurate for the times. Here is one source I used that further explains this:
Fred Langridge I'd been wondering whether this was a deliberate, historically-accurate error! It also explains modern US Quakers who I hear using "thee is" where I would use "thou art".

I'm glad to know this when I've just started on the book, so I can stop tripping over it.
Susie I've only just come across this thread, which has been very helpful - I just wish Tracey Chevalier had mentioned it in the notes and acknowledgements which would have saved me a lot of irritation! I grew up in Derbyshire in the 50's and 60's where the men and boys still did a bit of "theeing and thouing" so that and familiarity with the prayer book made this very discordant to my ear!
Trudy It's been driving me crazy but from what I've read of Quakers I gathered it was historically accurate, so I respect that you've got to go with the way people actually spoke!
Ros Spring it didn't notice the inaccuracies and it didn't bother me either. I am listening to the audiobook.
Kathleen It didn't bother me. I guess I didn't notice the inaccuracies.
Jean Carlton No. you are not alone. i respect the facts but it was still annoying while reading.
Image for The Last Runaway
by Tracy Chevalier (Goodreads Author)
Rate this book
Clear rating

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more