The Witch of Blackbird Pond Summary and Analysis: Chapter 18

Elizabeth George Speare

Summary and Analysis: Chapter 18

New Characters
A deacon from Matthew’s church and a town constable: both of these men accompany the Cruffs to make their accusation of witchcraft against Kit.

The constable’s wife: the woman who feeds Kit the evening she is locked up and speaks kindly to her.

Summary
Once she is dry and fed, Kit feels much better, and with her cousins both returning to health and Hannah rescued, the world seems a brighter place. That morning she thanks her uncle for his words protecting her the night before, and Matthew, in turn, thanks Kit for all she has done for his daughters during the past week of intense illness. Despite this moment of closeness, Kit cannot bring herself to admit the times she has skipped out of work to go visit Hannah.

Later that day, four visitors from the village come to the Wood house to arrest Kit for witchcraft. Goodwife Cruff claims that the reason Hannah got away is because Kit helped her and that Hannah’s cat carried her away in the form of a mouse. Matthew is unimpressed, and Kit is about to laugh, until the constable reveals the silver hornbook Kit had been using to teach Prudence to write. When Matthew asks Kit if it was hers, Kit says yes and that she used to visit Hannah and bring her gifts. The fact that Matthew did not know this was happening gives the visitors an opening, and they insist on taking her.

Lacking a real jail, the constable locks Kit in his shed, where she sits alone and cries until the constable’s wife brings her dinner. After her Aunt Rachel comes to visit, Kit again sits alone, thinking about all that has happened and all that might have been, until she falls asleep, exhausted.

Analysis
In this chapter, the community turns on Kit, and she gets in considerable trouble due to both her good qualities and her flaws. Her uncle’s ignorance of her visits to Hannah leave both characters vulnerable to the community’s judgment, for the (male) head of the family was supposed to be aware of all that went on in his home and to control it. Matthew’s inability to keep Kit from following her own conscience is much like the king’s inability to control the Puritans. At the same time, Kit takes full responsibility for teaching Prudence and attempts to protect her.