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The Witch of Blackbird Pond

by Elizabeth George Speare

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What is the climax of The Witch of Blackbird Pond?

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The climax to The Witch of Blackbird Pond begins with the witch hunt for Hannah Tupper. Nat is able to get her out of the area; however, Kit serves as an available scapegoat for the townspeople's anger and superstitions. This is quite a lead into the climax of the story, because readers are now witnessing fear turn into hysteria and mob mentality. The Puritans are not satiated with excluding outsiders and oddities like Tupper anymore. The Puritans have moved from exclusion to wishing physical harm upon Tupper or Kit. Kit is captured, and she is put on trial. This trial is an incredibly suspenseful part in the story as Kit's life hangs in the balance. This conflict and tension is finally resolved when Nat shows up at the court trial with Prudence, and Prudence demonstrates that Kit was only teaching her how to read the Bible.

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The climax, the most intense point of the story, occurs in Chapter Nineteen. Witnesses come forth at Kit's trial to testify against her. Kit protects Prudence by saying she wrote Prudence's name over and over because Prudence's parents never knew she was being taught at Hannah's house. Nat then comes into court with Prudence, who shows all how Kit taught her to read and write. Prudence's father is so proud of her that he stands up to his wife and drops all of the charges against Kit.

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What is the rising action that lead up to the climax in The Witch of Blackbird Pond?

The climax of this moving and incredibly powerful book undoubtedly comes in Chapter 19, when Kit is tried for supposedly being a witch. When we look back at the rising action, however, we see that there are a number of different events of sequences of events that have led to this point, known as the rising action in terms of the plot.

Firstly, and centrally, the friendship between Kit and Hannah Tupper, who is shunned, isolated and ostracised by the rest of the townsfolk, is key to this development. It is the friendship that results in Kit bringing Prudence to Hannah's house for her reading lessons and above all it is the love that Kit has for Hannah that impels her to go to Hannah's house and help her flee before the enraged mob burn her house down and potentially do something terrible to Hannah herself. Kit repeatedly disobeys her Uncle Matthew's instructions to not go to Hannah's house, thus casting suspicion on herself, as Hannah is thought to practice witchery by the townspeople.

Secondly, the fever that strikes the town is another crucial element that leads to Kit's arrest and trial. Kit herself is sick, but only fleetingly, and recovers soon, able to help others back to health. However, the swiftness of Kit's recovery combined with her friendship with Hannah Tupper appears to be another piece of evidence that suggests that Kit is a witch, or at least in league with one.

Thus Kit's friendship with Hannah and the way that she recovered from the fever so quickly automatically makes her a suspect to the frenzied townsfolk who are eager to find a victim, especially as Hannah Tupper managed to elude their trap. It is this that leads to Kit's arrest and trial and the climax of this novel.

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