Who becomes responsible for takng care of everyone in the Wood household when the sickness comes in Witch of Blackbird Pond?Chapter 17 - Explain why.

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Kit becomes responsible for taking care of everyone in the Wood household when the sickness comes.

Judith is stricken with the illness first, and it takes her a long time to recover. Kit helps nurse her, then is taken ill herself.  Kit's bout with the fever is mild however,

"her wiry young body, nourished by Barbados fruits and sunshine, (has) an elastic vitality, and she (is) back on her feet while Judith (is) still barely sitting up to sip her gruel".

Mercy contracts the fever next, and becomes so ill that she lies near death.  Her parents are ragged with worry for her; Rachel, who is "already worn from the long vigil with Judith, (is) near the breaking point", and Matthew, who must continue to work in the fields all day, sits up with Mercy all night so that his wife can get a little rest.  The running of the household thus falls to Kit, and she does "the best she (can)", making the meals, keeping the fire burning, washing, fetching water, taking care of Judith as she slowly recovers, and watching over her uncle's needs.

Kit's devotion and unsparing attendance to her work does not escape the notice of Matthew Wood, and when hysterical neighbors come by blaming the illness on witchcraft perpetrated by Hannah and, by association, Kit, he unquestioningly defends his niece, telling them,

"How dare you speak the name of a good, God-fearing girl?  Any man who slanders one of my family has me to reckon with!" (Chapter 17).

Later, when Kit approaches Matthew to thank him for his support, he says to her,

"'Tis true I did not welcome you into my house...but this last week you have proved me wrong.  You haven't spared yourself, Katherine.  Our own daughter couldn't have done more" (Chapter 18).



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The Witch of Blackbird Pond

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