The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Section 1: Chapters 1 – 5

  1. aloof: not friendly or forthcoming; cool and distant
  2. brigantine: a two-masted sailing ship with a square-rigged foremast and a fore-and-aft-rigged mainmast
  3. dour: relentlessly severe, stern or gloomy in manner or appearance
  4. eke: manage to support oneself or make a living with difficulty
  5. impulsive: acting or done without forethought
  6. prow: the portion of the ship’s bow above water
  7. sabbath: a day of religious observance and abstinence from work, kept by Jews from Friday evening to Saturday evening, and by most Christians on Sunday
Comprehension Questions
  1. Kit sets sail upon the Dolphin from Barbados. (pg. 2)
  2. Kit is sad to see Mistress Eaton leave the Dolphin once they reach Connecticut because being the only two women on the boat they had bonded, and Mistress Eaton was sociable and kindly. (pg. 4)
  3. John Holbrook is headed to Wethersfield to study under Reverend Bulkeley in hopes that he will have his own church after a year. (pg. 12)
  4. Nat advises Kit not to swim in Connecticut as being able to swim is a sign that the person is a witch. (pg. 14)
  5. While the Dolphin is sailing upriver, John Holbrook spends hours reading books, although he does take time to talk to Kit. (pg. 17/18)
  6. When the Dolphin reaches Wetherfield, Kit is not met by anyone because she had not written to let her aunt and uncle know she was coming. (pg. 27)
  7. Nat is proud that the Dolphin stinks of horses because that means his family has an honest trade and doesn’t transport slaves. (pg. 23)
  8. Kit’s parents were both drowned in a pleasure trip to Antigua. (pg. 19)
  9. John Holbrook warns Kit that her Aunt Rachel has lived in America many years and may not be the same as her mother had described to her. (pg. 20)
  10. According to John Holbrook, the purpose of reading is too improve man’s sinful nature and to fill one’s mind with God’s holy word. (pg. 25)
  11. When Aunt Rachel first sees Kit, she thinks she is Margaret her sister. (pg. 30)
  12. Kit hadn’t written to her relatives before she arrived because she was afraid that they would not allow her to come. Pg 36)
  13. Kit left Barbados quickly as a friend of her grandfather’s claimed that a marriage had been arranged between them in exchange for loans given. Although the man would have paid all of grandfather’s debts she couldn’t bear the thought of marrying an old man. (pg. 47)
  14. Judith was outraged when the family headed out for Meeting as Kit was allowed to wear the least fancy dress she owned and Judith was envious. (pg. 51/52)

Section 2: Chapters 6 – 10

  1. condescend: showing feelings of superiority; be patronizing
  2. dubious: hesitating or doubting
  3. menial: work not requiring much skill and lacking prestige
  4. placid: a person, animal not easily upset or excited
  5. pompous: affectedly and irritatingly grand, solemn or self-important
  6. provoke: stimulate or give rise to a reaction or emotion in someone
  7. Royalist: a supporter of the king against Parliament during the English Civil War
Comprehension Questions
  1. Reverend Bulkeley accuses Matthew Wood of being mistaken in his refusal to recognize Governor Andros, the king’s new governor. (pg. 61)
  2. In suggesting the Bible verse Proverbs 24:21, Reverend Bulkeley implies that Matthew attitude towards the king’s appointment of Governor Andros runs counter to God’s word. (pg. 63)
  3. When Kit sighs and peeks through her eyes during Reverend Bulkeley’s prayer she notices that Judith is peeking at John Holbrook. (pg. 63)
  4. Judith quickly changes her jealous attitude about William Ashby calling on Kit as she is now determined to marry John Holbrook. (pg. 67)
  5. The Assembly wants all the land of Hartford County claimed by its citizens otherwise the King’s governor will grant the land to his favorites. (pg. 69)
  6. Judith and Mercy believe that William Ashby intends to court Kit because he mentioned that he was starting to build his house and it was known that he wouldn’t start building until he had made up his mind who was going to court and marry. (pg. 72)
  7. The widow Hannah Tupper lives on the edge of Blackbird Pond. Pg 77)
  8. Dr. Bulkeley suggest that during the coming summer Kit help Mercy teach summer school. (pg. 79)
  9. Kit forgets about her own bitterness when she learns about Aunt Rachel’s past, that she had lost two boys to illness. (pg. 81/82)
  10. Hannah Tupper’s reason for living at Blackbird Pond is that the Meadow seems to cure a troubled heart. (pg. 91)
  11. At Hannah Tupper’s, Kit is reminded of Barbados by a piece of coral sitting upon a shelf. (pg. 94/95)
  12. No-one in Wethersfield has anything to do with Hannah Tupper because she is a Quaker and don’t believe in the sacraments as the towns people do. (pg. 99)
  13. Kit has learned with time, that when William is shocked by something she says his jaw muscles tighten. (pg. 101)
  14. Nat and Hannah first met when he was 8 years old. He had run away and gotten lost and she found him crying in the meadow. She took him to her home, fed him and encouraged him to return home. (pg. 108/109)

Section 3: Chapter 11 – 15

  1. docile: ready to accept control or instruction; submissive
  2. heretic: a person believing in or practicing religious ideas contrary to orthodox beliefs
  3. pious: devoutly religious
  4. qualm: an uneasy feeling of doubt, worry, or fear especially about one’s own conduct
  5. refuge: a condition of being safe or sheltered
  6. spry: active, lively, especially in older persons
  7. wrought: beaten out or shaped by hammering
Comprehension Questions
  1. Mercy is able to avoid being sad about the things she cannot do by thinking about all the things she can do. (pg. 112)
  2. The three things that make up Hannah’s cure for any ill are blueberry cake, a kitten and love. (pg. 117)
  3. Prudence wants to go back to Hannah’s because Hannah is lonesome and needs someone to talk too. (pg. 118)
  4. While John is reading to the family Kit notices that Mercy is watching John intensely and she realizes Mercy loves John Holbrook. (pg. 121/122)
  5. When Kit goes off to visit Hannah, Rachel surprises her by giving her some left over apple tart. She has known all along about Kit’s visits. (pg. 124)
  6. Nat thinks that all their schooling and the cramming of Latin lessons causes the Puritans to be solemn. (pg. 128)
  7. After Nat finishes thatching Hannah’s roof, Kit’s happy mood is dissolved when he continues to walk with her as she reaches the town. She would have a difficult time explaining why she was walking with a seaman. (pg. 131)
  8. When Kit returns home from thatching Hannah’s roof, Matthew is angry that she has helped thatch Hannah’s roof and forbids her to ever visit again. (pg. 132)
  9. While talking with Kit on the road, John Holbrook surprises her by revealing that he loves Mercy. (pg. 139)
  10. The beautiful surprise that Kit sees in October is the change in the colors of the landscape that signal autumn has arrived. (pg. 146/147)
  11. Nat finds out about William Ashby’s intention toward Kit because the Dolphin carries sixteen diamond-paned windows for the house he is building for his bride from Barbados. (pg. 130/131)
  12. Matthew begins to hold meetings at his house to discuss what to do about Governor Andros’s visit and the threat to the town’s charter. (pg. 153/154)
  13. Judith thinks that the charter was never intended to give as many freedoms as the town had taken and Governor Andros will have little effect on their lives. Pg 157)
  14. Kit begins to feel proud of Matthew when he holds true to his convictions about the charter and she recognizes the strength of character that Rachel had seen in him when they sailed from England to America. (pg. 163)

Section 4: Chapters 16 – 21

  1. console: comfort someone in a time of grief or disappointment
  2. consort: a wife, husband or companion, in particular the spouse of a reigning monarch
  3. obstinate: stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion or chosen course of action despite attempts to persuade one to do so
  4. malady: a disease or ailment
  5. poignant: evoking a keen sense of sadness or regret
  6. premonition: a strong feeling that something is going to happen, especially something unpleasant
  7. serene: calm, peaceful, and untroubled; tranquil
Comprehension Questions
  1. Thanksgiving was not celebrated in Wethersfield that year because the people of Connecticut no longer have the authority to declare holidays. It is the governor’s decision. (pg. 163/164)
  2. Hannah wasn’t worried about Nat being banned from Wethersfield because he had been visiting her since he was 8 years old using routes not known by others. The ban would not stop him from visiting her. (pg. 169)
  3. John Holbrook enlists in the militia because working as doctor in the militia allows him to get out from under Bulkeley’s control. John has come to see that their ideas and opinions about Governor Andros differ. (pg. 176)
  4. Kit doesn’t get as sick as everyone else with the fever as she has had the benefit of growing up in Barbados where she ate good fruits and enjoyed sunshine that strengthened her body. (pg. 178)
  5. Dr. Bulkeley’s treatment for the fever includes making a poultice of boiled onions that are put into a linen cloth and place hot on the chest of the patient. (pg. 181)
  6. After saving Hannah from the mob Kit doesn’t take her to her uncle’s house because a miracle takes place, the Dolphin is passing by Hannah’s destroyed house. (pg. 189/190)
  7. Kit refuses to go on board the Dolphin with Hannah as she cannot leave Mercy as she is so ill. (pg. 192/193)
  8. Some of the townspeople believe Hannah left town by changing herself into a mouse, which was then able to escape when her cat ran off with it. Pg 198)
  9. Kit hopes that William will visit her in jail, but it is Rachel who visits her instead. Pg 204)
  10. The final piece of evidence that is brought in against Kit is the copy book that she had given Prudence to practice writing her name over and over. It is used to show that Kit was writing a spell. (pg. 214)
  11. When Prudence comes forward as a witness at the hearing, Kit notices that Prudence’s head is held high and her eyes are focused on the magistrate. She has an air of confidence. (pg. 217)
  12. Thankful Peabody’s wedding festivities are brought to an end by the arrival of two men from the militia who announce that John Holbrook has been captured by Indians. (pg. 232/233)
  13. To forget her loneliness Kit tries to keep alive her dream of one day returning home to Barbados. (pg. 236)
  14. Nat’s new ship is called Witch and is named after Kit. (pg. 248)