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
Start Free Trial

What significant quote can be found in Chapter 5 of Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch of Blackbird Pond?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

We actually see a very interesting and significant passage right at the beginning of Chapter 5. Here, the Elizabeth George Speare describes Kit as owning the elegant, expensive clothing that would be characteristic of a girl raised to be a gentlewoman on a slave plantation in Barbados. Such a plantation would have brought in a great deal of income, so she and her grandfather would have been very wealthy. Hence, Kit owns only expensive silk gowns, which stand in great contrast to her colonial relatives' clothing. As Speare describes, the chapter opens with Kit's uncle looking very disapprovingly at Kit's silk, floral print gown, the only type of clothing she owns that she must now wear to church. The author contrasts Kit's wealthy silk floral gown against the dresses Kit's Aunt Rachel and cousin Judith are wearing, which are the poor blue cotton and white linen that the colonials spun and made themselves. But Speare uses this passage to serve a greater intent than to just compare clothing. She uses it to describe Kit being out of place in the Puritan colony, and since the Puritans had a way of rejecting anything different from themselves and looking at it as sinful, this passage also foreshadows all of Kit's upcoming difficulties and accusations. We see the important comparison in the lines:

Beside the blue homespun and white linen which modestly clothed Aunt Rachel and Judith, Kit's flowered silk gave her the look of some vivid tropical bird lighted by mistake on a strange shore. The modish bonnet with curling white feathers seemed to her uncle a crowning affront.

Since we can clearly sense Kit's uncle's disapproving and judging tone in this passage, the reader can predict that further disapproval and negative judgements are in store for Kit.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team