The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

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How does the community respond to John Holbrook leaving to fight in a group of Native Americans?

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A reader should look to the end of chapter sixteen for information regarding this question. The initial reaction is shock and dismay. Kit, and others, can not believe that John Holbrook would leave to go fight as a soldier. Kit even states that John is the last person she figured to turn soldier. The other people then clarify that John did not leave to be a combat soldier. He left to be a combat medic and put to use the knowledge he has gained in the last year. This information does not satisfy Kit. She can't believe that John would abandon his current studies like this. Rachel then suggests that perhaps leaving for the fight is John's way of breaking with Dr. Bulkeley, and Rachel even goes so far as to suggest it is a good thing. Judith vehemently disagrees and states that John is being stubborn. It becomes clear that Judith is upset because she feels that John has abandoned her. Mercy eventually enters the conversation, and she sort of comes to John's defense. Mercy believes that John did not want to leave. Rather he felt that he had to leave. The chapter then ends, and readers do not get much more additional information regarding his sudden departure because five days after he leaves, Judith gets sick.

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