illustration of a woman in a black dress with long black hair swimming down through the water toward a smaller human figure

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

by Elizabeth George Speare

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How are Mercy and Judith's reactions to Kit's dresses different?

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When Judith first sees Kit's fine dress, she gazes at it admiringly.  She begs Kit to open her trunks full of dresses.  Mercy cautions her sister against idleness.  Then she begins to reason that it may be acceptable to take out a little time to look inside the trunks.  

Kit opens her trunks and shows her cousins the clothes and accessories.  Judith holds and touches the various items, admiring each one.  Mercy approaches the items in the trunks with timidity.  It seems like forbidden fruit to get so excited about such things to Mercy.  She is hesitant, though she finds beauty in the dresses and other items.  There is a contrast in the ways that the sisters approach the gloves Kit gives them.

Judith had the gloves on before the sentence was finished, and stood stretching out her slender arms admiringly.  Mercy stroked hers with a timid finger and laid them gently aside (The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Chapter 4).

As Judith tries on a bold-looking dress, Mercy quietly admires a blue shawl.  Mercy truly finds the shawl beautiful, and she expresses how much she likes it.  Still, she is hesitant to take it as a gift from Kit.

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