Elizabeth George Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Elizabeth George Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond

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Elizabeth George Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Elizabeth George Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond shows the maturation process of a young girl from Barbados. Kit’s life in Barbados is shattered when her grandfather dies. As a result of his death, Kit is forced to leave the island and her carefree lifestyle. She travels to Connecticut to find her only living relatives. Once she reaches Connecticut her persona evolves from an island girl, to hard worker, and finally to wife.

Kit is a young island girl who is running away from her problems. She is escaping from the only home she has ever known and leaving behind her soon to be lover, Nat in order to get away from a man she does not wish to marry. Kit tells Mercy that she does not want to marry him because he is much older then she is, “He was fifty years old, and he had pudgy red fingers with too many rings on them. You see Mercy why I couldn’t write” (pg 47). She makes up her mind and runs to a family whom she has never met, without even writing to them. Once she reaches Connecticut, Kit is disappointed at the first sight of land, “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.” (Pg 7)

Once she reaches her aunt and uncle’s house it is a huge culture shock for her. In Connecticut everyone does his or her part and helps with the housework, where as in Barbados, there are people who do that for you. Kit must learn how to be of some use to the family. “By the end of the day the word useful had taken an alarming meaning.” (Pg 42) She also has to attend Puritan meetings regularly, something that she never had to do before. “The puritan service seems to her as plain and unlovely as the bare board walls of the meeting house” (pg 52). While at meeting she is called upon by a wealthy young man, William Ashby; once again in an attempt to fit in, she agrees to have him visit her in her uncle’s house. Although she is not interested in him, she continues seeing him because she knows that if they are married she will not have to do any chores at all.

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Later on she meets Hannah Tupper, an old Quaker woman with many of the same views as Kit. Everyone in town stays away from Hannah because she is a Quaker and they believe that she practices witchcraft. However, Kit goes against the odds and befriends her.. When confronted about being associated with Hannah, Kit stands up for her by telling them that Hannah is her friend, “Oh no! Hannah was a friend of mine!” (Pg 180). During all the controversy of her friendship with Hannah she decides that she is in love with her best friend Nat and she wants to go back to Barbados and marry him. “If only I could go with Nat, she realizes suddenly, it wouldn’t matter where we went.” (Pg 219) At the end of the book Nat comes to Connecticut and asks for permission to marry Kit.

After Kit leaves her shattered life in Barbados she tries to find peace in a brave new world. When she is disappointed in what she finds she is forced to mature and live by the rules. As a result of her culture shock, the reader is able to witness Kit Tyler evolve from a carefree girl into a mature young woman. She starts off as a naïve young island girl, then turns around to be a hard worker, and then into a wife.
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