Why does Matthew get so angry in The Witch of Blackbird Pond?

In The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Matthew gets angry when he perceives that Reverend Bulkeley is implying that he is not loyal to King Charles. He interprets Bulkeley’s advice to Kit about allegiance as a veiled insult to him and his family. Matthew disagrees with Bulkeley's claim that the colonies are on the road to revolution.

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In chapter 6, Reverend Gershom Bulkeley comes to the Woods’ house as a dinner guest. Reverend Bulkeley raises political topics that Matthew Wood interprets as insults. In particular, Matthew gets angry when he thinks that his loyalty is under attack. Wood considers himself a loyal subject of the king, but he is also an advocate of the colonists’ rights.

During the course of the evening, Reverend Bulkeley asks Kit Tyler about her father and comments favorably on her grandfather having been knighted. He encourages her to carry on with the family tradition of devotion and loyalty to the crown.

Matthew Wood interprets this extreme interest in Kit’s family in England and the minister’s advice as attempts to cast aspersions on his family’s loyalty and to reform-minded colonists more generally. He stands up and angrily quizzes Reverend Bulkeley on his insinuations, insisting that living in their household will not dampen Kit’s loyalty to the crown.

From this point on, the two men become embroiled in a political debate. The minister believes that Wood and other colonists like him will end up fomenting a revolution if they continue to criticize the king and his policies. Wood insists that his allegiance is unwavering, but he questions the governor’s administration.

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