When Caleb is born, his mother dies. Caleb’s sister, Anna, is angry with Caleb for causing the death of their mother, but she also loves Caleb.
The whole story of Sarah, Plain and Tall, is filled with beautiful conflicts like these. When Sarah arrives to answer the ad placed by Anna’s father for a mother for Anna and Caleb, Anna is torn. She loved her mother and she loves Sarah. Is that wrong? Sarah, we discover, loved the ocean, but she is now to live in a world with no ocean, a world covered with the tall grass of the prairie. Can she live without her ocean? Even if Anna and Caleb and their father love Sarah, will the love be enough to keep Sarah with them?