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The Witch of Blackbird Pond

by Elizabeth George Speare

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What are some themes for The Witch of Blackbird Pond?

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Loyalty and trust would be two important themes in the Witch of Blackbird Pond.

Consider the reasons Kit is loyal and to whom she is loyal to.  How she does she learn about loyalty?  Also consider who is loyal to Kit and why.

Trust is another reoccurring theme - there are people Kit does not trust easily and people she does trust easily.  Consider who she trusts and why and who proves to ultimately be trustworthy and how they prove this. 

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What is the theme of The Witch of Blackbird Pond?

Most novels have many themes.  The Witch of Blackbird Pond is no exception.  You can find key themes by reading the novel.  What are some ideas that are shown throughout the book when you read it?  Here are a few themes with textual evidence from the story:

- Kit shows loyal friendship throughout the story.  She befriends Hannah Tupper, who is not accepted in the town because she is mysterious and a Quaker.  Kit is loyal to her even though their friendship is frowned upon.

-  Duty is important to daily life in Puritan Connecticut.  Aunt Rachel, Mercy, and Judith are dutiful to their daily chores and the expectations of their community and Uncle Matthew.  They work all day to run the household.

-  Love is shown throughout the story.  Kit shows love to Hannah Tupper and lonely Prudence.  She shows love to Mercy by going to Mr. Kimberley (a man who "'isn't known for changing his mind'") and negotiating about her cousin's position as the dame school teacher.

What repeated ideas do you see when you read the novel?  What characteristics do the main characters have?  Are these characteristics shown repeatedly?  These are ways that you can find a theme.

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Are there any themes in The Witch of Blackbird Pond?

I believe the main one deals with bigotry and prejudice. The Puritans escaped to the colonies to pursue religious freedom denied to them in England. When they became established as a colony, they in turn denied religious freedom to groups such as the Quakers. Hannah had been driven out of her prior colony along with her husband. He built them a cottage on the edge of a swamp to have limited contact with the Puritans of Wethersfield. When things went badly, such as the disease that swept Wethersfield, the people sought an explanation to their misfortunes. Since they were not an educated group, superstitious ignorance took over. The blame had to be laid at the door of something that was different or unexplainable. Hannah, being a Quaker, was different. Since she was different and also did not attend church meetings, she could well be a witch. This superstitious ignorance could also be another theme because it happened in WWII in the Holocaust.

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