The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

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How is Kit received when her aunt finds out she has come to live with her in The Witch of Blackbird Pond?

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Eleanore Trupkiewicz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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You've asked how Kit is received when her aunt Rachel finds out that Kit has come to live with her. Thanks for your question!

In fact, her aunt Rachel has several reactions to Kit's arrival on her doorstep in Wethersfield. At first, in chapter 3, when Captain Eaton (who has accompanied Kit from the ship to Rachel and her husband Matthew's house) knocks on the door, Rachel opens it and stares in shock, believing for a moment that Kit is her (Rachel's) own sister Margaret. It would be fair to assume that Kit has never met Rachel since Rachel is said to have run away with a Puritan (Matthew) to America when she was young; Rachel had only ever communicated with Kit via letters every year since Kit was a child. Equally fair, then, would be the assumption that Kit presumably looks like her own mother, Rachel's sister Margaret, enough to cause Rachel herself to be startled almost speechless at Kit's unannounced arrival.

Once Rachel is given to understand that Kit has come for what she believes to be a visit, Rachel is delighted at the prospect, and welcomes Kit very gladly into the house (see chapter 3 for more details you could include in your own assignment). Other emotions you might explore that Rachel seems to feel include nostalgia, longing, and even homesickness.

Finally, when the truth comes out that Kit has really come to the New World to live with Rachel and Matthew and their daughters, Rachel is the one who comes quickly, if timidly and with careful deference, to her niece's defense, where Matthew comes across as far more severe and forbidding. Where Matthew asks question after question, probing Kit's motives and actions, Rachel comforts her and acknowledges that Kit has done the right thing in coming to them, that of course she will be taken in as one of the family now that her grandfather has died in Barbados.

Rachel's reaction to Kit's arrival and intention to stay is something you might find interesting to explore insofar as it reflects the belief at that time that the husband was the head of the household, his wife, his children, and all who came under his roof. Rachel's kindness to Kit is tempered by her (Rachel's) clear deference to her husband's authority; there would have been no way for Rachel to make the decision to keep Kit without Matthew's approval foremost.

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