The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Society and Class Quotes Page 1
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She pulled up the hood of her scarlet cloak and turned away. Embarrassment was a new sensation for Kit. No one on the island had ever presumed to stare like that at Sir Francis Tyler’s granddaughter. (1.31)
We learn that Kit was part of an aristocratic, upper-class family in Barbados. Her grandfather was nobility. In the Puritan society of New England, however, Kit will find that her family’s name won’t shield her from censure. Three women on the dock cast disapproving looks at her bedraggled appearance.
The others stared at her in suspicion. As though she had sprouted a tail and fins right before their eyes. What was the matter with these people? Not another word was uttered as the men pulled harder on their oars. A solid cloud of disapproval settled over the dripping girl, more chilling than the April breeze. Her high spirits plunged. She had made herself ridiculous. (1.53)
Kit generates suspicion when she plunges into the water to rescue Prudence’s doll. Kit’s swimming and rash behavior is out of the ordinary for an upstanding Puritan woman. As Goodwife Cruff says later, “no respectable woman could keep afloat in the water like that” (1.77). The groundwork for the later accusations of witchcraft is being laid.
Such frank talk about money embarrassed Kit. Her grandfather had seldom mentioned such a thing. She herself had rarely so much as held a coin in her hand, and for sixteen years she had never questioned the costly and beautiful things that surrounded her. In the last few months, to be sure, she had a terrifying glimpse of what it might mean to live without money, but it seemed shameful to speak of it. (2.19)
Kit was raised in an aristocratic family, where it is considered improper to speak to others about private financial concerns. The Puritan John Holbrook, however, speaks of such things casually.