Who is Hannah Tupper in the Witch of Blackbird Pond?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hannah Tupper is a Quaker woman who lives near Blackbird Pond and accused of being a witch.

Hannah lives an isolated life because most of the Puritans do not approve of Quakers.  They shun her, and she lives alone in a cabin outside of town.  She is considered a witch because they don’t understand her.  Kit, who also does not fit in, befriends her and soon learns she is nothing more than a generous and kindly old woman.

"Nobody but Hannah Tupper would live there by Blackbird Pond, right at the edge of the swamp, but she likes it. They can't persuade her to leave." (Ch. 8)

Hannah is fiercely independent, but she is also kind-hearted.  She takes in strays, like Kit, Nat, and Prudence.  They form a sort of family of outcasts, teaching Prudence to read, and enjoying one another’s company in the comforts of Hannah’s cottage.  There, they do not face the harsh judgment of the Puritans.

Of course, such an ideal setting could never last.  It is soon discovered that Kit was visiting Hannah, and both Kit and Hannah are accused of being witches.  Hannah’s witchcraft is said to be causing the fever that is hitting the village, and she supposedly can turn herself into a mouse.

His wife drew a hissing breath. "That mouse was Hannah Tupper! 'Tis not the first time she's changed herself into a creature. They say when the moon is full--" (Ch. 18)

When Kit is put on trial, she admits to visiting Hannah, and teaching Prudence to read.  The townspeople have to acknowledge that Hannah was just a little old lady, and Kit was just a lonely girl.  Kit realizes that she can never like with these people, or understand them.  She decides to marry Nat, and live with him, traveling the world.

Read the study guide:
The Witch of Blackbird Pond

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