illustration of a woman in a black dress with long black hair swimming down through the water toward a smaller human figure

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

by Elizabeth George Speare

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Student Question

What is Goodwife Cruff's perspective of the longboat trip in Chapter 1 of The Witch of Blackbird Pond?

Expert Answers

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After a long journey aboard the ship the Dolphin, Kit requested that she be allowed to ride on the longboat to go ashore to the town of Saybrook.  She was eager to set foot on dry land, if only for a short while.  A longboat went ashore to fetch supplies before the ship continued up the river to Wethersfield.  The boat picked up the supplies, as well as a few new passengers on their way up the river.  Goodwife Cruff, her husband, and young daughter, Prudence, were among the passengers.  On the boat ride back, Prudence dropped her beloved wooden doll into the water.  The child was devastated and Kit was moved with compassion.  As the doll floated away, Kit dove into the icy cold water to go after it.  The passengers on the longboat thought that she might drown before they realized she could swim.  They thought that Kit was foolish for going into the water.  Goodwife Cruff was not appreciative, and instead viewed Kit with disdain.  She addressed Kit with anger.  "'You must be daft... to jump into the river a ruin those clothes!'"  She also thought it suspicious that Kit, a young lady, should know how to swim.

To retell this from the perspective of Goodwife Cruff, think about her as a character.  She is stern, disapproving, and unappreciative of Kit's kindness in saving her daughter's toy.  She views Kit with suspicion.  

When you retell this scene, you will want to explain why Goodwife Cruff was on the longboat and then describe what happened with Kit jumping into the water from her perspective.  You could use some key words to describe the situation, such as "foolish" or "strange" when telling it from Goodwife Cruff's perspective.

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