What kind of woman is Rachel in "Witch of Blackbird Pond"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rachel Wood is a good and compassionate woman, but she appears to be diminished by the dour dominance of her husband Matthew.  Rachel is the sister of Kit's mother, and Kit has always heard that she was very beautiful, and always laughing (Chapter 2).  Kit is quite surprised, then, to discover that Rachel is now "a thin, gray-haired woman" whom she had at first mistaken for a servant.  The hard life of a Puritan wife and mother in the American wilderness has taken its toll, but Kit can still see that "once, a long time ago, (Rachel) must have been very beautiful".

Aunt Rachel receives Kit kindly and graciously, even though the family is somewhat taken aback when they discover that the young girl has come to stay.  Rachel's husband Matthew is a good man, but "fierce (and) silent", and when she thinks that Kit is being intimidated by his sternness when he questions her about why she did not write before coming, Rachel "protests...(albeit) timidly, "Matthew...what is there to ponder?  We are the only family she has" (Chapter 3).

Rachel is caring but usually passive in the presence of her husband.  She is more aware of what is going on than she lets on, however, as she shows later in the book when she gives Kit a tart to take to Hannah Tupper, the Quaker woman who is the reputed witch of Blackbird Pond.

adrigon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sorry, I mixed up the names.

Read the study guide:
The Witch of Blackbird Pond

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