Study Guide

The Witch of Blackbird Pond Quotes

  • Identity

    “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?

    Her hands were unskillful not so much from inability as from the rebellion that stiffened her fingers. She was Katherine Tyler. She had not been reared to do the work of slaves. And William Ashby was the only person in Wethersfield who did not expect her to be useful, who demanded nothing, and offered his steady admiration as proof that she was still of some worth. (7.46)

    Though William is not an ideal match, his way of life more closely fits to Kit’s vision of who she is: an aristocratic woman who does not perform hard labor. Will her desire for an easy life free of hard work be the only thing that defines Kit’s identity – and the choices she makes?

    At the second tug an onion shoot came too, and glancing to see if Judith had noticed, she guiltily thrust the tiny root back into the earth and patted it firm. Bother the things, she would have to keep her mind on them! All at once tears of self-pity brimmed her eyes. What was she doing here anyway, Sir Francis Tyler’s granddaughter, squatting in an onion patch? (8.20)

    Kit objects to working in the onion patch because it is backbreaking labor; however, she also scorns the hard work because of how she sees herself: she is the granddaughter of an aristocrat.

    “My friend brought the bulb to me, a little brown thing like an onion. I doubted it would grow here but it just seemed determined to keep on trying and look what has happened.” (9.78)

    Hannah tells Kit a story about a gift she received from a friend: a tropical flower bulb. Though the flower was not native to Connecticut, the plant was determined to thrive. The flower is a metaphor for Kit herself. Though from Barbados, Kit must persevere in order to survive in the Puritan soil of the Connecticut Colony.

    “You know,” he said looking carefully away at the river, “once when I was a kid we went ashore at Jamaica, and in the marketplace there was a man with some birds for sale. They were sort of yellow-green with bright scarlet patches. I was bent on taking one home to my grandmother in Saybrook. But father explained it wasn’t meant to live up here, that the birds here would scold and peck at it. Funny thing, that morning when we left you here in Wethersfield – all the way back to the ship all I could think of was that bird.” (12.29)

    Nat tells Kit the story of the tropical bird. Why does Kit remind Nat of the bird? Do you think Kit can ever really change her feathers?

    “I think it was his way of breaking with Dr. Bulkeley,” explained Rachel. “He has tried so hard, poor boy, to reconcile Gersholm’s ideas with his own bringing up. Now it seems the doctor is going to publish a treatise in favor of Governor Andros and the new government, and John just could stomach it any longer.” (16.93)

    Kit isn’t the only character in the novel trying to figure out the identity question. John Holbrook is a man who must reconcile his education with his values, his politics with his religion. Breaking from Dr. Bulkeley, John must become his own man with his own ideas.

    The meals fell to Kit, and she did the best she could with them, measuring out the corn meal, stirring up the up the pudding, spooning it into a bag to boil, and cursing the clumsiness that she had never taken the pains to overcome. She built up the fire, heated kettles of water for the washing, so that Mercy might have fresh linen under her restless body. She fetched water, and strained a special gruel for Judith, and spread her uncle’s wet clothes to dry before the fire. At night she dozed off, exhausted, and woke with a start sure that something was left undone. (17.8)

    When Mercy and Judith fall ill, Kit works hard to take over the family chores. She sees herself as part of the Wood family with responsibilities to care for those in it.

    “’Tis true I did not welcome you into my house,” he said at last. “But this last week you have proved me wrong. You have not spared yourself, Katherine. Our own daughter couldn’t have done more.” (18.6)

    During Mercy and Judith’s illness, Kit takes on the chores of the household. Kit’s hard work has allowed Uncle Matthew to finally identify her as part of the family.

    She would go as a single woman who must work for her living. Her best chance, she had decided, lay in seeking employment as a governess in one of the wealthy families. She liked teaching children, and hopefully there might be a library where she could extend her own learning as well as that of her charges. Whatever befell, there would be a blue sky overhead, and the warmth and color and fragrance and beauty that her heart craved. (21.11)

    After breaking with William, Kit must decide what she wants in her life. She longs to return to Barbados to continue her own education – and to educate others. In this passage Kit appears to have found her calling. Why doesn’t she follow through with these plans?

    “There’ll be a house someday, in Saybrook, or here in Wethersfield if you like. I’ve thought of nothing else all winter. In November we’ll sail south to the Indies. In the summer – ”

    “In the summer Hannah and I will have a garden!” (21.42-43)

    Kit is getting married to Nat and they will make their home in many places. Kit has decided that her identity is not determined by location, but by the people she surrounds herself with. How will Kit’s marriage to Nat change how she sees herself?

    “That ketch has a mind of her own. She’s contrary as a very witch herself. All the way up the river she’s been holding back somehow, waiting. Now you’ll both have to wait. I’m not going to disappoint her, Kit. When I take you on the board the <em>Witch</em>, it’s going to be for keeps.” (21.48)

    Why does Nat name his boat <em>The Witch?</em>

  • The Home

    “I don’t remember my parents at all,” she told him. “My father was born on the island and was sent to England to school. He met my mother there and brought her back to Barbados with him. They had only three years together. They were both drowned on a pleasure trip to Antigua, and Grandfather and I were left alone.”

    “Were there no women to care for you?”

    “Oh, slaves of course. I had a black nursemaid. But I never needed anyone but Grandfather. He was –” There were no words to explain Grandfather. (2.20-22)

    As she explains here, Kit lived with her grandfather as a child. She was raised by him and her black nursemaid. What does it mean that there are “no words to explain Grandfather”? How is Grandfather “home” for Kit?

    She relaxed slightly at the first glimpse of her uncle’s house. At least it looked solid and respectable, compared to the cabins they had passed. Two and a half stories it stood, gracefully proportioned, with leaded glass windows and clapboards weathered to a silvery gray. (3.5)

    Though the home of Aunt Rachel and Uncle William is plain, it is also sturdy and respectable. How is the house a reflection of the family?

    “You mean that, just on an impulse, you left your rightful home and sailed halfway across the world?”

    “No, it was not an impulse exactly. You see, I really had no home to leave.” (3.65-66)

    We learn that Kit lost her home in Barbados. Because her grandfather was in debt, she was forced to sell his land. Homeless, she is driven to Connecticut to the Wood family.

    “Be quiet, girl! It is time you understood one thing at the start. This will be your home, since you have no other, but you will fit yourself to our ways and do no more to interrupt the work of the household or to turn the heads of my daughter with your vanity.” (4.49)

    Uncle Matthew, a stern Puritan, has a fit when he finds his daughters and wife playing dress up in Kit’s fancy aristocratic dresses. Through this culture clash, we learn that, if Kit is to call New England her home, she will have to conform to the values of the Puritan Wood family.

    As they came out from the shelter of the trees and the Great Meadows stretched before them, Kit caught her breath. She had not expected anything like this. From that first moment, in a way she could never explain, the Meadows claimed her and made her their own. As far as she could see they stretched on either side, a great level sea of green, broken here and there by a solitary graceful elm. Was it the fields of sugar cane they brought to mind, or the endless reach of the ocean to meet the sky? Or was it simply the sense of freedom and space and light that spoke to her of home? (8.7)

    The Meadows remind Kit of her home back in Barbados. The place will become a home, of sorts, for Kit. The Meadows are a place for quietness, but also of friendship. Who does Kit meet in the Meadows?

    If only I could be here alone, without Judith or anyone, she thought with longing. Someday I am going to come back to this place, when there is time just to stand still and look at it. How often she would come back she had no way of foreseeing, nor could she know that never, in the months to come, would the Meadows break the promise they held for her at this moment, a promise of peace and quietness and of comfort for a troubled heart. (8.8)

    While the Meadows are an isolated place where almost no one lives, Kit finds comfort in the solitude. We learn through the narrator’s foreshadowing that the Meadows will always offer Kit refuge. How do the Meadows become important to Kit?

    This is the way I used to feel in Barbados, Kit thought with surprise. Light as air somehow. Here I’ve been working like a slave, much harder than I’ve ever worked in the onion fields, but I feel as though nothing mattered except just to be alive right at this moment.

    “The river is so blue today,” she said sleepily. “It could almost be the water in Carlisle Bay.”

    “Homesick?” asked Nat casually, his eyes on the blue strip of water.

    “Not here,” she answered. “Not when I’m in the meadow, or with Hannah.” (12.26-29)

    Kit has been working hard with Nat on Hannah’s roof, yet she feels very much at home and at peace with the world. What is it about the Meadows – and Hannah – that creates this feeling for her? What does Nat have to do with Kit’s feelings about home?

    Also, what do you make of Kit’s comparison of herself to a slave? As a child that grew up in a slave-owning family, how has she been able to change her thinking since leaving Barbados?

    “A man is loyal to the place he loves” (12.50).

    What does Nat mean by this comment he makes to Kit? To whom in the novel does this statement apply? Why does it apply?

    How peaceful it is, thought Kit, lazily stretching her toes nearer to the blaze. Why is it that even the fire in Hannah’s hearth seems to have a special glow? Like the sunshine on the day that I sat on the new thatch with Nat. If only, right now, on that bench across the hearth—But what ridiculous daydream was this? Kit shook herself upright. (16.78)

    If Kit feels at home in Hannah’s tiny house, why does she call her thoughts a “ridiculous daydream”?

    “’Tis true I did not welcome you into my house,” he said at last. “But this last week you have proved me wrong. You have not spared yourself, Katherine. Our own daughter couldn’t have done more.” (18.6)

    During Mercy and Judith’s illness, Kit takes on the family chores. Kit’s hard work has allowed Uncle Matthew to accept her into the family and think of her as his own daughter.

    One night she woke from a vivid dream. She and Nat had stood side by side at the bow of the Dolphin, watching that familiar curving prow carving gently through calm turquoise water. They came soundlessly into a palm-studded harbor, fragrant with the scent of blossoms, and happiness was like sunshine, wrapping her round and pouring into her heart till it overflowed.

    Shoe woke in the freezing darkness. I want to go back, she admitted at last, weeping. I want to go home, where green things are growing, and I will never see snow again as long as I live! (20.60-61)

    Kit dreams of returning to her home in Barbados on the <em>Dolphin</em> with Nat. How does she interpret the dream? What do you think her dream means?

    If only I could go with Nat, she realized suddenly, it wouldn’t matter where we went, to Barbados or just up and down this river. The <em>Dolphin</em> would be home enough. (21.17)

    Kit’s realizes that home is not where she is, but who she is with.

    “There’ll be a house someday, in Saybrook, or here in Wethersfield if you like. I’ve thought of nothing else all winter. In November we’ll sail south to the Indies. In the summer –”

    “In the summer Hannah and I will have a garden!” (21.42-43)

    Kit is getting married and has a new family now, one that will include both the Woods and Hannah. Her home will be in many places, with many different people.

  • Society and Class

    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.

    “Seven trunks! The whole town will be talking about it before nightfall.” (3.77)

    When Kit arrives at the Wood household, the family is shocked that she is carrying seven trunks with her. Uncle Matthew notes that the entire town will be buzzing about Kit’s luggage. We see a conflict of values in the two societies.

    By the end of that first day the word useful had taken on an alarming meaning. Work in that household never ceased, and it called for skill and patience, qualities Kit did not seem to possess. (4.81)

    The Wood family has a very different approach to chores than the aristocratic household Kit is used to. Instead of servants, each member of the family must pitch in and do their part in the daily running of the house. Kit has a difficult time adjusting to the labor required of her.

    “But in the town there was not an inch of land to spare, not after they’d seen the brand on our foreheads.” (9.60)

    Hannah Tupper is a Quaker, as was her late husband Thomas. Because of their religion, they were cast out of Puritan society and branded on their foreheads. The couple was forced to settle in the Meadows as the town would give them land nowhere else.

    “Quakers cause trouble wherever they go. They speak out against our faith. Of course, we don’t torment them here in Connecticut. In Boston I’ve heard they even hanged some Quakers. This Hannah Tupper and her husband was branded and driven out of Massachusetts. They were thankful enough just to be let alone here in Wethersfield.” (10.18)

    As Aunt Rachel tells Kit, the Quakers were not tolerated by the Puritans. In some areas, they were even tortured, branded, and killed.

    “People are afraid of things they don’t understand.” (11.58)

    Kit says this to Prudence in order to explain why Hannah, as a Quaker, is isolated from the Puritan society of Wethersfield. What does Kit mean? How are her words true?

    <em>That for stealing pumpkins from a field, and for kindling a fire in a dwelling they three shall be seated in the stocks from one hour before the Lecture till one hour after. That they shall pay a fine of forty shillings each, and they be forbidden hereafter, on certainty of thirty lashes at the whipping post, to enter the boundaries of the township of Wethersfield.</em> (16.31)

    The town’s punishment for Nat’s vandalism is a day in the stocks; he is then to be banished from Wethersfield. Why is it important that Nat is publicly punished in this manner? What do these punishments mean?

    “You’d do well to heed what we say, Matthew Wood. John Wetherell’s boy died today. That makes three dead, and it’s the witch’s doing!”

    “Whose doing? What are you driving at, man?”

    “The Quaker woman’s. Down by Blackbird Pond. She’s been a curse on this town for years with her witchcraft!” (17.27-29)

    Because she is a Quaker, Hannah has been cast out from Puritan society. The townspeople fear her rather than try to understand her. Here she becomes the scapegoat for the fever in the town.

    “Please,” Kit ventured. “Those other women you spoke of – Goody Harrison and the other? What happened to them?”

    “Goody Harrison was banished from the colony. They hanged Goody Johnson.” (18.71-72)

    A harsh fate awaits social outcasts in the Puritan society. Women who are accused of witchcraft are either killed or banished. Why are only women accused of witchcraft? What is it about Kit that made her a likely target for these kinds of accusations?

    Another woman testified that one afternoon last September she had been sitting in the window, sewing a jacket for her husband, when she had looked up and seen Kit walking past her house, starring up at the window in a strange manner. Whereupon, try as she would, the sleeve would never set right in the jacket. A man swore he had seen Kit and Goody Tupper dance round a fire in the meadow one moonlit night, and that a great black man, taller than an Indian, had suddenly appeared from nowhere and joined in the dance. (19.31)

    The witch trial includes a list of ridiculous accusations against Kit. Notice how the Puritans project their fears and anxieties onto the girl.

  • Religion

    “You are not a Puritan then?”

    “Puritan? You mean a Roundhead? One of those traitors who murdered King Charles?”

    A spark of protest flashed across his mild gray eyes. He started to speak, then thought better of it, and asked gently, “You are going to stay here in Connecticut?” (1.67-69)

    One of the major dividers between Kit and the people of Connecticut is religion. Kit and her family are loyal to England and to the Church of England. The Wood family, meanwhile, are Puritans, which means that they want to reform the Church of England. They are also critical of England and its role in the colonies.

    “Why, Judith,” Mercy rebuked her gently. “What would you have her do? You know what the Scriptures tell us about caring for the poor and widows.” (4.3)

    As her name suggests, Mercy is the heart and soul of the Wood household. She does not get caught up in petty prejudices or politics, but instead understands religion as kindness and giving. Here she suggests that the Scriptures ask followers to act as good neighbors. She is the moral center of the Wood family.

    “Do people live in those tiny houses?” she inquired.

    “Of course not. Those are Sabbath houses.” Then Judith emerged from her own musings long enough to explain. “Families that live too far to go home between services cook their meal there on Sunday, and in the winter they can warm themselves at a fire.” (5.42-43)

    In this scene Kit and Judith pass the small structures known as Sabbath houses. Kit, much to her astonishment, realizes that she’ll be attending two very long religious services that Sunday. Kit mentions earlier in the chapter that she and her grandfather rarely attended church (5.4). Note the level of devotion implied by the little houses.

    “What would you have me read, sir?”

    “I would suggest Proverbs, 24th Chapter, 21st verse,” said the old minister, with a canny gleam in his eye which Kit understood as John began to read.

    “My son, fear the lord and the King, and meddle not with them that are given to change, For their calamity shall rise suddenly, and who knoweth the ruin of them both?” (6.24-26)

    Dr. Bulkeley makes use of scripture to defend his political position. His conflation of religion and politics suggests the close alliance between the two in this period.

    “There was another boy, after Judith,” Mercy continued. “He lived only a week. Mother said it was the will of God, but sometimes I have wondered. He was very tiny, born early, but on the third day he had to be baptized. It was January and terribly cold. They said the bread froze on the plates at communion that Sunday. Father bundled him up and carried him to the Meeting House. He was so proud! Well, of course that was a long time ago, but after that Father changed. And it has been a struggle, trying to manage without a son to help.” (8.47)

    As Mercy’s story suggests, the Puritan’s are a rigidly faithful people. Uncle Matthew, for example, baptized his premature son in the middle of winter. Mercy, who is speaking here, seems unsure about the rightness of this.

    “Play-acting! And with the Bible!”

    Reverend Woodbridge stared incredulously at Mercy. “What could have been thinking of, Mercy, to allow such a thing?” (9.30-9.31)

    The strictness of the Puritan faith forbids the kind of flippant attitude that Kit’s playacting would seem to suggest. Do you find Kit’s behavior at the dame school disrespectful?

    “But no one in Wethersfield has anything to do with Hannah Tupper.”

    “Why on earth not?”

    “She is a Quaker.”

    “Why is that so dreadful?”

    Rachel hesitated. “I can’t tell you exactly. The Quakers are queer stubborn people. They don’t believe in the Sacraments.”

    “What difference does that make? She is as kind and good as – as you are, Aunt Rachel. I could swear to it.” (10.12-17)

    Hannah’s Quakerism becomes an excuse to ostracize her from the community. Though Kit is able to see her goodness, Aunt Rachel insists that the woman should be avoided.

    “Can I become a Quaker?” asked Kit, only half joking. “I’d rather pay a fine any day than go to Meeting.” (10.56)

    In this exchange between Kit and Hannah, we learn that Hannah is fined by the town of Wethersfield for not attending their religious meetings.

    His wife drew a hissing breath. “<em>That mouse was Hannah Tupper!</em> ‘Tis not the first time she’s changed herself into a creature.” (18.25)

    As we learn here, superstitious beliefs hold sway in the small Puritan settlement. Believing that Hannah is a witch, they burn her house. What’s worse, Goodwife Cruff accuses Hannah of turning herself into a mouse.

    “Katherine Tyler, though art here accused that not having the fear of God before thine eyes thou hast had familiarity with Satan the grand enemy of God and man, and that by his institution and help thou hast in a preternatural way afflicted and done harm to the bodies and estates of sundry of His Majesty’s subjects, in the third year of His Majesty’s reign, for which by the law of God and the low of the Colony thou deservest to die.” (19.15)

    According to the charges brought against Kit, she has violated the law of the colony and the law of God. The two are, in the town of Wethersfield, the same. Why is this a problem?

  • Politics

    “You are not a Puritan then?”

    “Puritan? You mean a Roundhead? One of those traitors who murdered King Charles?”

    A spark of protest flashed across his mild gray eyes. He started to speak, then thought better of it, and asked gently, “You are going to stay here in Connecticut?” (1.67-69)

    Kit and the Wood family don’t see eye to eye on the subject of politics. Kit and her grandfather were royalists: loyal to the Church of England and the king. The Wood family, meanwhile, are Puritans, which means that they have left the Church of England. They are also critical of England and its King.

    “Your grandfather was a King’s man, I reckon?”

    “He was a Royalist, sir. Here in America are you not also subjects of King James?”

    Without answering, Matthew Wood left the room. (3.73-75)

    The question of political allegiance rears its head as we learn that the Wood family do not ally themselves with the king.

    “So, young lady, your grandfather was knighted for loyalty by King Charles, you say? A great honor, a very great honor indeed. And I take it he was a loyal subject of our good King James as well?”

    “Why, of course, sir.”

    “And you yourself? You are a loyal subject also?”

    “How could I be otherwise, sir?” Kit was puzzled.

    “There are some who seem to find it possible,” remarked the minister, staring meaningfully at a ceiling beam. (6.5-9)

    Reverend Dr. Bulkeley was a real-life person, and he is true to his biography here as he plays the part of a Royalist, someone who is loyal to the king of England. He is in contrast to Uncle Matthew and many of the other Puritans. Here he suspects Uncle Matthew of attempting to tamper with Kit’s loyalty to the crown.

    “Surrender our charter and we lose all,” he thundered. “That charter was given to Connecticut by King Charles twenty-five years ago. It guarantees every right and privilege we have earned, the very ground we stand on and the laws we have made for ourselves. King James has no right to go back on his brother’s pledge.” (7.21)

    Matthew will not submit to having his freedoms reneged by a different monarch. He values personal freedoms and liberties over allegiance to the crown.

    “That is all a woman thinks about,” he scoffed “her own house. What use are your so-called rights of England? Nothing but a mockery. Everything we have built here in Connecticut will be wiped out.” (15.23)

    How would you describe Uncle Matthew’s attitudes regarding politics and gender? Why were woman not thought to be able to discuss such matters?

    And Andros! He was a true cavalier, with his fine embroidered coat, his commanding air, and the wealth of dark curls that flowed over his velvet collar. How elegantly he sat the saddle of his borrowed horse. Why, he was a gentleman, an office of the King’s Dragoons, a knight! Who were these common resentful farmers to dispute his royal right? He made their defiance seem childish. (15.36)

    Governor Andros is a man that is closely tied to the powerful English crown. How does Kit view him here? What is significant about the way in which he is described? How does this differ from the way in which Uncle Matthew views the Governor?

    “And the charter?”

    “It was there, all the time, in the middle of the table in plain sight. Sir Edmond made a long speech about how much better off we were all going to be. It got dark, and finally he asked for lights. Before long the room got hot and full of smoke and when someone opened a window, the draft blew out the candles. It took quite a few minutes to get them lighted. Nobody moved. Far as I could see everybody stayed right in their places. But when the candles were lit the charter had disappeared. They looked high and low for it, all over the room, and never found a trace.” (15.45)

    When Governor Andros comes to take over control of the colony, the men (including William Ashby) steal the charter so that it will be safe. What does the charter represent? Why is it so important?

    “It seems we have no authority here in Connecticut to declare out own holidays. His Excellency, the new governor, will declare a Thanksgiving when it pleases him.” (16.1)

    Governor Andros cancels the Thanksgiving holiday. This is one of the many complaints the Wethersfield townspeople have about losing the ability to govern themselves.

    “Katherine Tyler, though art here accused that not having the fear of God before thine eyes thou hast had familiarity with Satan the grand enemy of God and man, and that by his institution and help thou hast in a preternatural way afflicted and done harm to the bodies and estates of sundry of His Majesty’s subjects, in the third year of His Majesty’s reign, for which by the law of God and the low of the Colony thou deservest to die.” (19.15)

    The law of Colony brings charges against Kit for witchcraft. Is this fair?

  • Appearance

    Only three shabbily-dressed women lingered near her, and because she could not contain her eagerness, Kit smiled and would have spoken, but she was abruptly repulsed by their sharply curious eyes. One hand moved guiltily to her tangled brown curls. She must look a sight! No gloves, no cover for her hair, and her face rough and red from weeks of salt wind. But how ill-mannered of them to stare so! (1.31)

    Though only in America for a few moments, Kit learns that she will very much be judged by outward appearances.

    The captain lifted the iron knocker and let it fall with a thud that echoed in the pit of the girl’s stomach. For a moment she could not breathe at all. Then the door opened and a thin, gray-haired woman stood on the threshold. She was quite plainly a servant, and Kit was impatient when the captain removed his hat and spoke with courtesy. (3.6)

    In this passage, Kit mistakes her aunt for a servant. We learn that the New Englanders aren’t the only ones who will have to stop judging by appearances.

    As Kit threw back the woolen cloak, Judith’s reaching hand fell back. “My goodness!” she exclaimed. “You wear a dress like that to <em>travel</em> in?” (3.30)

    Kit is used to elaborate and expensive clothing – this seems otherworldly and impractical to Judith, who was raised in a Puritan family.

    Beside the plain blue homespun and white linen which modestly clothes Aunt Rachel and Judith, Kit’s flowered silk gave her the look of some vivid tropical bird lighted by mistake on a strange shore. (5.2)

    Compared to the Puritan women, Kit seems exotic and out of place. How do the people in church react to Kit’s appearance?

    Scandalized to see Kit wearing out her finery with scrubbing and cooking, Rachel and Mercy had made her a calico dress exactly the same as Judith’s. It was coarse-woven and simply made, without so much as a single bow for trimming, but it was certainly far more suited to the menial work she had to do in it. Beyond a doubt, too, it had made for an easier relationship with her cousin. This morning Judith seemed almost friendly. (8.2)

    Kit’s change in appearance – trading her fancy dresses for a calico one – has improved her relationship with the Wood family. (Mainly Judith.)

    The girl looked about her. “’Tis a pretty room,” she said without thinking, and then wondered how that could be, when it was so plain and bare. Perhaps it was only the sunlight on boards that were scrubbed smooth and white, or perhaps it was the feeling of peace that lay across the room as tangibly as the bar of sunshine. (9.57)

    While Hannah’s home might appear simple, Kit can sense peace there. Why?

    “An interesting cargo we had this trip. One item in particular. Sixteen diamond-paned windows ordered from England by one William Ashby. They say he’s building a house for his bride. A hoity-toity young lady from Barbados, I hear, and the best is none too good for her. No oiled paper in her windows, no indeed!” (14.17)

    Nat mocks the windows William is purchasing for his house. What assumptions does Nat make based on appearances? What does Nat say about birds a few paragraphs later in 14.23?

    And Andros! He was a true cavalier, with his fine embroidered coat, his commanding air, and the wealth of dark curls that flowed over his velvet collar. How elegantly he sat the saddle of his borrowed horse. Why, he was a gentleman, an office of the King’s Dragoons, a knight! Who were these common resentful farmers to dispute his royal right? He made their defiance seem childish. (15.36)

    Why is this description of Governor Andros significant?

    Kit laid down the trench in dismay. “But I can’t go like this! I’ve been sitting in the dirt all night!” The face she lifted to the woman was even sorrier than she realized, streaked with mud and tears.

    “You’re no treat to look at, that’s sure,” the woman admitted. “If they took you for a witch right now I’d scarce blame them.” (19.7-8)

    Kit must fix herself up on the morning of her trial so as to be presentable to the examiners. How is appearance connected to the way people are judged?

    But the dresses must serve another purpose now. Would they bring enough to pay her passage on a ship? Fine cloth like this was rare in Connecticut. In many families, she had learned, one dress such as these would be handed down through three generations as a cherished possession. (21.9)

    Kit no longer wishes to wear her dresses, but to sell them so she can return home. How has Kit changed over the course of the novel?

    She laid aside the dress, and very thoughtfully she chose another, a fine blue-flowered muslin. These two she would take directly to Uncle Matthew, and this time she felt sure he would let his daughters accept them, because he would know now that she offered the gifts with love instead of pride. (21.10)

    Kit reserves two of her finest dresses as gifts for Judith and Mercy. How have things changed since the last time she tried to give dresses as gifts?

  • Visions of America

    “How does it look to you?” he questioned.

    Kit hesitated. She didn’t want to admit how disappointing she found this first glimpse of America. The bleak line of shore surrounding the gray harbor was a disheartening contrast to the shimmering green and white that fringed the turquoise bay of Barbados which was her home. The earthen wall of the fortification that faced the river was bare and ugly, and the houses beyond were no more than plain wooden boxes. (1.4-5)

    For Kit, America is drab in comparison with her tropical home in Barbados. The shoreline, the harbor, and even the houses are not much to her liking. Life in the colonies, as we see here, is tough and at times bleak.

    “But don’t you have slaves in America?”

    “Yes, to our shame! Mostly down Virginia way. But there are plenty of fine folk like you here in New England who’ll pay a fat price for black flesh without asking any questions how it got here. If my father would consent to bring back just one load of slaves we would have had our new ketch by this summer. But we Eatons, we’re almighty proud that our ship has a good honest stink of horses!” (2.47-46)

    Kit doesn’t understand slavery as something wrong; however, Nat expresses disgust at the institution. He explains that his family earns their living the honest way.

    “All the land had to be sold, and the house and the slaves, and all the furniture from England. There wasn’t anything left, not even enough for my passage. To pay my way on the ship I had to sell my own Negro girl.”

    “Humph!” With one syllable Matthew disposed of the sacrifice, only a little less sharp than Grandfather’s loss, of the little African slave who had been her shadow for twelve years. (3.70-71)

    The differences in attitudes in slavery appear between Barbados and the New England colonies. Kit’s attitude is especially worth noting.

    The town! Kit stared, too aghast to realize her own tactlessness. There was not a single stone building or shop in sight. The Meeting House stood in the center of the clearing, a square unpainted wooden structure, topped by a small turret. As they crossed the clearing Kit recoiled at the objects that stood between her and the Meeting House; a pillory, a whipping post and stocks. (5.8)

    Kit is surprised by the barren town, but she is also aghast at the forms of public punishment in the town. The pillory and the stocks would have been used in New England to denounce and punish criminals.

    The long rows of onions looked endless, their sharp green shoots already half hidden by encroaching weeds. Judith plumped matter-of-factly to her knees and began to pull vigorously. Kit could never get over her amazement at her cousin. Judith, so proud and uppity, so vain of the curls that fell just so on her shoulder, so finicky about the snowy linen collar that was the only vanity allowed her, kneeling in the dirt doing work that a high-class slave in Barbados would rebel at. What a strange country this was! (8.19)

    Kit finds it difficult to reconcile Judith’s prim appearance with the hard work that she does in the fields. Kit contrasts the behavior of people in this “strange country” to slavery in Barbados.

    “Quakers cause trouble wherever they go. They speak out against our faith. Of course, we don’t torment them here in Connecticut. In Boston I’ve heard they even hanged some Quakers. This Hannah Tupper and her husband were branded and driven out of Massachusetts. They were thankful enough just to be let alone here in Wethersfield.” (10.18)

    Religious intolerance, we learn, is a part of the early American experience.

    For two days they had been boiling the small gray bayberries that Kit and Judith had gathered in the fields, and Rachel had skimmed off the thick greenish tallow. It simmered now in the huge iron kettle, beneath which the fire must be kept glowing all through the long hot day. At the opposite end of the kitchen, at a good distance from the heat of the fire, the candle rods hung suspended between chairbacks. Back and forth the three women walked, carrying the candle rods, dipping the dangling wicks in the tallow, hanging them back to cool, and dipping them again, till the wax fattened slowly into the hard slow-burning candles that would fill the house with fragrance all through the coming months (12.2).

    Candle making is just one of the many difficult chores facing the families in New England.

    Going through the shed door one marooning, with her arms full of linens to spread on the grass, Kit halted, wary as always, at the sight of her uncle. He was standing not far from the house, looking out toward the river, his face half turned form her. He did not notice her. He simply stood, idle for one rare moment, staring at the golden fields. The flaming color was dimmed now. Great masses of curled brown leaves lay tangled in the dried grass, and the branches that thrust against the graying sky were almost bare. As Kit watched, her uncle bent slowly and scooped up a handful of brown dirt from the garden patch at his feet, and stood holding it was a curious reverence, as though it were some priceless substance. As it crumbled through his fingers his hand convulsed in a sudden passionate gesture. (14.2)

    What is the importance of land to Uncle Matthew? How does Kit feel about her uncle in this moment?

    “Please,” Kit ventured. “Those other women you spoke of – Good Harrison and the other? What happened to them?”

    “Goody Harrison was banished from the colony. They hanged Goody Johnson.” (18.71-72)

    A harsh fate awaits social outcasts in the Puritan New England colony. The Salem Witch trials were a historical fact.

    All at once Kit was aware that this New England, which had shown her the miracle of autumn and the white wonder of snow, had a new secret in store. This time it was a subtle promise, a tantalizing hint of beauty still withheld, a beckoning to her spirit to follow she knew not where. (21.13)

    The winter has been a hard and long one, but New England promises a change in the seasons. What does the New England spring come to represent for Kit?

  • Education

    “I suppose it was foolish for a tanner’s son even to think about Harvard,” John told her. “It was six miles to the school, and my father never could spare me for more than a month or so out of the year. He wanted me to learn, though. He never minded how long I burned the candles at night.”

    “You mean you worked all day and studied at night? Was it worth it?”

    “Of course it was worth it,” he answered, surprised at her question. “I was set on college. I finished all the requirements in Latin. I know the Accidence almost by heart.” (2.14-16)

    John Holbrook is a studious man, something Kit has a hard time understanding.

    “You can read that?” he questioned, with the same amazement he had shown when she had proved she could swim. “How did you learn to read when you say you just ran wild like a savage and never did any work?”

    “Do you call reading work? I don’t even remember how I learned. When it was too hot to play, Grandfather would take me into his library where it was dark and cool, and read to me out loud from his books, and later I would sit beside him and read to myself while he studied.” (2.52-53)

    How are Kit and John’s views of reading and education very different?

    What patience Mercy had! If only patience were contagious like mumps. Kit signed and turned back to the primer. Of all the dreary monotonous sermons! Grandfather would never have allowed her to learn from such a book. (9.7)

    Kit has a problem with dreary book learning at times. How does this attitude get Kit into trouble later in the chapter?

    “You mean you know how to read already?”

    “Naw. Pa wanted me to go to school, but Ma says I’m too stupid.” (11.14-15)

    Prudence’s parents won’t allow her to read. Her mother doesn’t have faith in her. Why not?

    What excuse could she make to get into her trunks today? At the bottom of one of them, she had remembered, was a little hornbook. It had been a present, brought from England by friends of her grandfather’s. It was backed by silver filigree, underlaid with red satin, and it had a small silver handle. She had never really used it; she remembered how she had astonished the visitors by reading every letter straight off, but she had cherished the gift for its delicate craftsmanship. (11.32)

    Kit’s hornbook will be the means by which she teaches Prudence to read. The book reminds us what a privileged world Kit grew up in.

    In this one thing they were all united. John loved to read out loud, and they were equally happy to listen. For all of them the days were filled with hard labor, with little enough to satisfy the hunger of their minds and spirits. The books that John shared with them had opened a window on a larger world. Perhaps each of them, listening, glimpsed through that window a private world, unknown to others. (11.71)

    Though the Puritan world is a strict one, the entire family can agree that reading and books are a nice break from hard labor. Books offer an escape.

    Tonight it was poetry. “These were written by a woman in Boston,” he explained. “Anne Bradstreet, wife of a governor of Massachusetts. Dr. Bulkeley feels they are worth to be compared with the finest poetry of England.” (11.72)

    John Holbrook reads from Anne Bradstreet’s poems. Bradstreet was one of the first American poets.

    “A boy has to learn his numbers, but the only proper use for them is to find your latitude with a cross-staff. Books, now that’s different. There’s nothing like a book to keep you company on a long voyage.” (12.36)

    Nat, though dismissive of formal education, does love to read. Why is this important to Kit?

    “There was one about a shipwreck on an island in the Indies.”

    Kit bounced up off the grass in excitement. “You mean The Tempest?”

    “I can’t remember. Have you read that one?”

    “It was our favorite!” Kit hugged her knees in delight. “Grandfather was sure Shakespeare must have visited Barbados. I suspect he liked to think of himself as Prospero.” (12.38-41)

    Kit and Nat find a connection over their shared interest in <em>The Tempest.</em> Why is this play significant?

    She had memorized the hornbook in a few day’s time and sped through the primer. After that she had plunged headlong into the only other reading matter available, Hannah’s tattered Bible. Kit had chosen the Psalms to begin with, and slowly, syllable by syllable, Prudence was spelling out the lines, while Hannah sat listening, her own lips often moving with the child’s in the lines she remembered and could no longer read. (16.62)

    It is reading and learning that brings Kit, Hannah, and Prudence together – and which helps Prudence flourish and gain confidence.

    “What is it?” asked Matthew.

    “Looks like a sort of hornbook.”

    “Who ever saw a hornbook like that?” demanded Goodman Cruff “’Tis the devil’s own writing.” (18.30-32)

    Why is it significant that it’s the hornbook that exposes Kit as Hannah’s friend?

    “What can you read, child?”

    “I can read the Bible.” (19.110-111)

    It is Prudence’s ability to read that ultimately saves Kit. Is it important what book she reads? Why?

    She would go as a single woman who must work for her living. Her best chance, she had decided, lay in seeking employment as a governess in one of the wealthy families. She liked teaching children, and hopefully there might be a library where she could extend her own learning as well as that of her charges. Whatever befell, there would be a blue sky overhead, and the warmth and color and fragrance and beauty that her heart craved. (21.11)

    Kit longs to return to Barbados to continue her own education – and to educate others. Why does Kit not follow through with this plan?

  • Marriage

    “Her name is Rachel, and she was charming and gay, and they said she could have her pick of any man in her father’s regiment. But instead she fell in love with a Puritan and ran away to America without her father’s blessing. She wrote to my mother from Wethersfield, and she has written a letter to me every year of my life.” (2.24)

    The marriage between Rachel and her husband was based, as Kit tells us, on love above all else. Rachel defied the wishes of her father to be with Matthew.

    “I had to come, Mercy. There was another reason. I couldn’t say it this morning, but there was a man of the island, a friend of grandfather’s. He used to come often, and afterwards I found he had lent Grandfather money, hundreds of pounds. He didn’t want the money back – he wanted me to marry him. He tried to make me think that Grandfather had wanted it, but I’m sure that was not so. He wanted to pay everything. He would even have kept the house for us to live in. Everyone expected me to marry him. The women kept telling me what a wonderful match it was.” (4.77)

    Here Kit reveals to Mercy that one of the reasons she left Barbados was that a man of her grandfather’s acquaintance had tried to coerce her into marrying him. For Kit, marriage is not purely an economic arrangement.

    “William said he was starting to build his house, didn’t he? What more could you want him to say?” (7.32)

    In this exchange with Judith, Kit learns that by simply mentioning his house, William is expressing his intentions of marrying her. Kit’s ideas about marriage, though, are quite different. She believes they should have something in common – and be able to hold a conversation (which they, of course, can’t).

    Kit had known that William was only waiting a propitious time to speak. She had long since decided what her answer would be. As William’s wife she could come and go as she pleased. There would be no more endless drudgery, and she could snap her fingers at a woman like Goodwife Cruff. Besides, William admired her. In spite of the fact that he was often bewildered and scandalized, he was still as infatuated as he had been that first Sabbath morning. Then why did Judith’s teasing always raise this cold little lump of foreboding? (13.19)

    Though Kit has decided she will marry William, her heart doesn’t seem to be in it. Why not? How does her decision to marry William go against her earlier ideas about love and marriage?

    As if he had heard her, John opened his white lips and made a hoarse sound. “Sir- I-” he attempted. Then, still incredulous, he looked back at Judith. Every trace of pride and haughtiness was wiped from her face. Such utter happiness and trust shone from those blue eyes that John faltered, and in that moment of hesitation he was lost. (13.79)

    John intends to propose to Mercy but Judith strong-arms the situation. Through a misunderstanding, John is accidentally engaged not to Mercy but to Judith. Oops. Why doesn’t John object or speak up?

    “Does thee love him?”

    “How can I tell, Hannah? He is good, and he’s fond of me. Besides,” Kit’s voice was pleading, “If I don’t marry him, how shall I ever escape from my uncle’s house?”

    “Bless thee, child!” said Hannah softly. “Perhaps ‘tis the answer. But remember, thee has never escape at all if love is not there. (16.45-47)

    How do Hannah and Kit’s views of marriage differ here? Which do you agree with?

    “’Tis no use, William,” she said now. “You and I would always be uneasy, all of our lives. We would always be hoping for the other one to be different, and always being disappointed when it didn’t happen. No matter how hard I tried, I know I could never care about the things that seems so important to you.” (20.35)

    Kit and William call off their courtship. Why are the two so ill-matched?

    On a Lecture Day in April two marriage intentions were announced together in the Meeting House. John Holbrook and Mercy Wood. William Ashby and Judith Wood.

    Looks like there’s been some partner swapping going on. In what ways is each couple suited for each other?

    “There’ll be a house someday, in Saybrook, or here in Wethersfield if you like. I’ve thought of nothing else all winter. In November we’ll sail south to the Indies. In the summer – ”

    “In the summer Hannah and I will have a garden!” (21.42-43)

    Kit is getting married to Nat. What makes them an appropriate couple?

  • Family

    “Her name is Rachel, and she was charming and gay, and they said she could have had her pick of any man in her father’s regiment. But instead she fell in love with a Puritan and ran away to America without her father’s blessing. She wrote to my mother from Wethersfield, and she has written a letter to me every year of my life.” (2.24)

    Aunt Rachel is the only blood relation that Kit has left. This prompts her to journey to Connecticut.

    “I don’t remember my parents at all,” she told him. “My father was born on the island and was sent to England to school. He met my mother there and brought her back to Barbados with him. They had only three years together. They were both drowned on a pleasure trip to Antigua, and Grandfather and I were left alone.”

    “Where there no women to care for you?”

    “Oh, slaves of course. I had a black nursemaid. But I never needed anyone but Grandfather. He was –” There were no words to explain Grandfather. (2.20-22)

    Kit’s family consisted primarily of her grandfather. She was raised solely by him and her black nursemaid.

    “My grandfather died four months ago,” Kit explained.

    “Why, you poor child! All alone there on that island! Who did come with you, then?”

    “I came alone.” (3.36-38)

    It is important to note that Kit starts the novel alone. Her isolation on the island due to the loss of her grandfather is the reason that she journeys to Connecticut.

    “Be quiet, girl! It is time you understood one thing at the start. This will be your home, since you have no other, but you will fit yourself to our ways and do no more to interrupt the work of the household or to turn the heads of my daughter with your vanity.” (4.49)

    Uncle Matthew has a conniption fit when he finds his daughters and wife playing dress up in Kit’s fancy clothes. Through this culture clash, we learn that if Kit is to call New England her home, she will have to conform to the values of the Puritan family.

    Mercy certainly did not consider herself afflicted. She did a full day’s work and more. Moreover, Kit has soon discovered that Mercy was the pivot about whom the whole household moved. She coaxed her father out of his bitter moods, upheld her timorous and anxious mother, gently restrained her rebellious sister and had reached to draw an uncertain alien into the circle. (6.30)

    Mercy is the center of the household.

    “Mother has never told you much about our family, has she?” she went on. “You see, there was a boy, their first child, two years older than I. I barely remember him. We both caught some kind of fever. I got well, except for this leg, but he died.”

    “I didn’t know,” whispered Kit, stricken. “Poor Aunt Rachel!”

    “There was another boy, after Judith,” Mercy continued. “He lived only a week. Mother said it was the will of God, but sometimes I’ve wondered.” (8.45-47)

    Mercy gives the family’s history to Kit. We learn that all of the boy sons have died and this is the reason the family had wished Kit was a boy.

    “I hate it here,” she confessed. “I don’t belong. They don’t want me. Aunt Rachel would, I know, but she has too many worries. Uncle Matthew hates me. Mercy is wonderful and Judith tries to be friendly, but I’m just a trouble to them all. Everything I do and say is wrong!” (9.71)

    Kit is feeling particularly sorry for herself here. She isolated from the Wood family, but finds solace in Hannah’s company.

    “’Tis true I did not welcome you into my house,” he said at last. “But this last week you have proved me wrong. You have not spared yourself, Katherine. Our own daughter couldn’t have done more.” (18.6)

    Kit’s hard work has allowed Uncle Matthew to accept her into the family.

    If only I could go with Nat, she realized suddenly, it wouldn’t matter where we went, to Barbados or just up and down this river. The Dolphin would be home enough. (26.17)

    Kit learns that home is not one place, but who she is with – her family.

    “There’ll be a house someday, in Saybrook, or here in Wethersfield if you like. I’ve thought of nothing else all winter. In November we’ll sail south to the Indies. In the summer – ”

    “In the summer Hannah and I will have a garden!” (21.42-21.43)

    Kit is getting married and has a new family now, one that will include both the Woods and Hannah.

  • Justice and Judgment

    “Justice! What do you young men know about rights and justice? A soft life is all you have ever known. Have you felled trees in a wilderness and built a home with your bare hands? Have you fought off the wolves and the Indians? Have you frozen and starved through a single winter? The men who made this town understand justice. They knew better than to look for it in the King’s favor. The only rights worth all that toil and sacrifice are the rights of free men, free and equal under God to decide their own justice. You’ll learn. Mark my words, some day you’ll learn to your sorrow!” (7.23)

    Uncle Matthew quarrels with William Ashby and John Holbrook over the subject of Connecticut’s charter. The hardworking Matthew scoffs at the younger men’s submission to the king. Matthew argues for freedom, equality, and justice for all men.

    Kit looked back at the gray figure bent over a kettle, stirring something with a long stick. Her spine prickled. It might be only soap, of course. She’d stirred a kettle herself just yesterday; goodness knows her arms still ached from it. But that lonely figure in the ragged flapping shawl – it was easy enough to imagine any sort of mysterious brew in that pot! She quickened her step to catch up with Judith. (8.18)

    The Widow Tupper is completely isolated from Puritan society, living alone by Blackbird Pond. Notice how her isolation makes her an easy target. From a distance, Kit finds it easy to imagine that the woman is indeed a witch.

    “Quakers cause trouble wherever they go. They speak out against our faith. Of course, we don’t torment them here in Connecticut. In Boston I’ve heard they even hanged some Quakers. This Hannah Tupper and her husband was branded and driven out of Massachusetts. They were thankful enough just to be let alone here in Wethersfield.” (10.18)

    Quakers become social outcasts and are isolated.

    “Why should you take it upon yourself to mend a roof for the Quaker woman?” demanded her uncle.

    “She lives all alone-” began Kit.

    “She is a heretic, and she refused to attend Meeting. She has no claim on your charity.” (12.66-68)

    According to Uncle Matthew, Hannah’s religion leaves her isolated, with no claims to Kit’s charity.

    <em>That for stealing pumpkins from a field, and for kindling a fire in a dwelling they three shall be seated in the stocks from one hour before the Lecture till one hour after. That they shall pay a fine of forty shillings each, and they be forbidden hereafter, on certainty of thirty lashes at the whipping post, to enter the boundaries of the township of Wethersfield.</em> (16.31)

    Is this punishment fair? Why is Nat’s offense worthy of banishment?

    “My house!” cried out Hannah, so heedlessly that Kit clapped a hand over her mouth. “Our own house that Thomas built!” With the tears running down her own cheeks, Kit flung both arms around the trembling woman, and together they huddled against the log and watched till the red glow lessened and died away. (17.88)

    Hannah is an easy target and becomes the scapegoat for the fever in the town. Why do the townspeople believe they should burn her house?

    There was no one, no one in the whole room, save her uncle, who would speak a word in her defense. William had not come. (19.10)

    Why will no one defend Kit during her trial? Why will William not speak up for her?

    “There seems to be no evidence of witchcraft,” he announced, when order had been restored. “The girl has admitted her wrong in encouraging a child to willful disobedience. Beyond that I cannot see that there is any reasonable charge against her. I pronounce that Mistress Katherine Tyler is free and innocent.” (19.128)

    Is justice done in this case? Who does not get justice? What happens to Hannah? Do we ever see justice for the way in which she is treated?

    “The lad risked the penalty to see justice done. I suggest you remit the sentence.”

    Nat risked his neck just to see that the right thing was done. He could have looked out only for himself, but instead he violated his banishment in order to return and help secure justice for Kit.

    “We’re judged by the company we keep. And in our position people look to us for an example of what is right and proper.”

    “And I’m to set an example by turning my back on my friends?” Kit’s eyes glittered. (20.30-31)

    William Ashby and Kit’s judgment differs when it comes to who to be friends with.