The Witch of Blackbird Pond
How we cite our quotes:
“Would there be room in the boat for me to ride to shore with you?” she begged. “I know it’s silly, but there is America so close to me for the first time in my life – I can’t bear not to set my foot upon it!”
“What a child you are, Kit,” smiled Mrs. Eaton. “Sometimes ‘tis hard to believe you are sixteen.” (1.28-29)
When the novel begins, Kit is ruled by her emotions. She often acts without thinking about consequences. Kit’s impetuous nature may be endearing to readers, but as a character it can get her into a good deal of trouble. Mrs. Eaton, who is herself fond of Kit, comments upon the girl’s immaturity.
The captain did not even glance in her direction. Kit was not used to being ignored, and her temper flared. When a thin whimper from the child was silenced by a vicious cuff, her anger boiled over. Without a second’s deliberation she acted. Kicking off her buckled shoes and dropping the woolen cloak, she plunged headlong over the side of the boat. (1.43)
Unable to control her temper, Kit rashly plunges into the ocean. What are the consequences of Kit’s behavior? How would you have acted in Kit’s place?
Sometimes, as she sat knitting, aware that William’s eyes were on her face, she felt her breath tightening in a way that was strange and not unpleasant. Then, just as suddenly, rebellion would rise in her. He was so sure! Without even asking, he was reckoning on her as deliberately as he calculated his growing pile of lumber. (7.45)
In the late seventeenth century, marriage would have been one of the major determining factors in a young girl’s adult identity. Kit must decide if she can submit to life with William – and his ideas about what a wife should be. What is the significance of the “pile of lumber”? Why is this image a turn-off for Kit?