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The Witch of Blackbird Pond

by Elizabeth George Speare
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What is Hannah’s cure for every ill in The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Hannah's cure for every ill is "blueberry cake and a kitten," according to Nat. The cake and the kitten don't actually have any special curative properties. Nat is saying that Hannah believes comforting experiences, like enjoying homemade food and playing with a kitten, will help people feel better about whatever is troubling them.

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When Kit first stumbles upon Hannah Tupper’s isolated residence, the elderly woman sees that the girl is drawing solace from the landscape. She tells Kit that in that location, there is always a cure. As the two converse inside Hannah’s home, Hannah gives her a bit to eat and Kit...

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When Kit first stumbles upon Hannah Tupper’s isolated residence, the elderly woman sees that the girl is drawing solace from the landscape. She tells Kit that in that location, there is always a cure. As the two converse inside Hannah’s home, Hannah gives her a bit to eat and Kit pours out her nostalgia for her Barbados homeland. The chance to talk with a sympathetic listener does her a world of good, and she returns to the Woods’ home with the confidence to negotiate with the schoolmaster.

On another occasion when she and Nat are both visiting Hannah at the same time, she realizes that he and Hannah are old friends. Nat identifies the “magic cure”:

"Hannah's magic cure for every ill," he teased. "Blueberry cake and a kitten."

The cake itself has no curative properties. The opportunity to sit and talk with Hannah in a nonjudgmental environment, while eating warm, fresh, homemade food is what is most beneficial. Observing and playing with the kitten also takes one’s mind off one’s own problems. As the two young people leave Hannah’s house, Nat asks about Kit is adjusting to life in Wetherfield. He also shares his positive opinion of her visits to Hannah—but not because of their benefit for Kit. His insights help the reader understand that the benefits of friendship extend in both directions:

"I'm glad you ran to Hannah. She needs you. Keep an eye on her, won't you?"

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