Not to long ago, I completed a 249 page Historical fiction book titled The Witch Of Blackbird Pond. Which was published in 1958 by an american author that was born in Massachusetts, named Elizabeth George Speare. This much loved classical book became a Newbery Honor and has been around for almost 60 years. In fact, 74% of google user who have read this book liked it. The reason I chose to read this book was because I found it laying around on by bookshelf at home. I asked my mom about it, and she said it was a good book. Like many of the books I seen laying around read, I wanted to give it a chance. So I did. Since it was a Newbery Honor award winner, I knew it was going to be a great piece of literature. I am not usually a fan of classical books, but when i decided to read this book, I was very pleased with my decision.
In The Witch Of Blackbird Pond the main character, Kit, has just lost her grandfather. This forces her to move from Barbados to Connecticut to live with the only family she has left. She takes the journey to Connecticut on a boat named “The Dolphin.” The only problem is that her new family that consists of, her Aunt Rachel, Uncle Matthew, and her cousins Judith and Mercy. Even though Kit’s arrival was unknown, Uncle Matthew still manages to let her stay with them. The life with the Wood family is a lot different from living in Barbados. She now has to do many chores, which she is not used to because she used to have slaves do it for her. One day Kit is doing work in the fields, and she sees a woman at Blackbird Pond. Her cousin Judith tells her about that lady. Her name is Hannah Tupper, she is a Quaker(a person that is from a different branch of christianity, many people of this time don’t approve of Quakers.) Hannah also happens to have a brand on her forehead. Kit thinks that woman could be believed to be a witch. Then, a boy named William Ashby begins to crush on Kit. Kit doesn’t mind, because she likes the idea of marrying a wealthy man. She knows it will get her out of the hard work the Wood family gives her. Also, a boy named John Holbrook seems like he is into Judith. As time passes, Kit and Mercy are given the opportunity to run a school from inside their house, Kit loves the idea because she won’t have to work in the onion patch. But, One day Kit thinks it’s a good idea to have a skit that is based on a parable in the bible. This was also the day the headmaster was coming to visit. He finds kit doing a skit with the kids, which he doesn’t like at all, so he fires Kit and threatens to suspend Mercy. So kit runs to the meadows, because she finds it a place of peace and quiet. She cries herself to sleep and wakes up to find Hannah Tupper right there with her. She befriends her, and she gains courage from that friendship and goes up to the headmaster and tells him not to suspend Mercy, he decides not to and gives Kit her job back. Then out of nowhere a fever gets into town and gets to the young people. Kit, Judith, and Mercy all get sick. The town looks for someone to blame, and decide on Hannah Tupper, The Witch Of Blackbird Pond. They make a mob to burn down Hannah’s house, but Kit saves her just in time. But, now since Hannah is gone, there is no one to blame for the fever that has struck their town. So someone else could be blamed
The book reminded me of The Salem Witch Trials. It reminded me of this because like in The Salem Witch Trials they just accused anyone they wanted as a witch and attempted to do horrible things. For example, in the text it explains that Kit has admitted to being a friend of the witch.(Hannah Tupper) So they call her a witch because of it. “The girl has admitted to being a friend to a witch(pg. 200). This just proves how they put women on trial for being a witch for the most ridiculous reasons. They did this same thing in The Salem Witch Trials, that is why it reminded me of it. The only problem I have with this book was that, I don’t get why the author didn’t say why Kit couldn’t have just stayed in Barbados. The author could have said something along the lines of, “No one in Barbados wanted to adopt her, so they sent her to some family in Connecticut.” But, the author did not. This made me question the text and it confused me a little bit. It would have been very helpful if she made some kind of statement on why Kit absolutely had to go to Connecticut. I’d compare this author to James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier. I chose to compare Elizabeth to these authors because of how they wrote similar pieces of writing. James and Christopher Collier wrote My Brother Sam Is Dead, a Historical Fiction novel that was based on the same time period as The Witch Of BlackBird Pond. I think they are similar because they are based on the same time period and they are based on the same location, Connecticut. Also, since they are based on the same time period, they both use the words that were commonly used around that time. These three factors make these two novels very similar.
Lastly, my favorite passage in the book is when the clerk began to read what Kit was being accused for. “Mistress Tyler, you are accused by Adam Cruff with the following actions. Firstly that you were the familiar friend and companion of the Widow Hannah Tupper of Blackbird Pond, an alleged witch who has within the past week disappeared in a suspicious manner. Such friendship is as lawful test of guilt, inasmuch as it is well known that witchcraft is an art that may be learned and conveyed from one person to another, and that it is often fallen out that a witch, upon dying leaveth some heir to her witchcraft.(pg.210)” I say that this is my favorite passage, because it shows the time and effort that was put in to make this novel seem like it was written during that time period. An example of this was when the clerk said, “upon dying leaveth some heir to her witchcraft.” the word “leaveth” is not commonly used today, but it was commonly used during the time period that this novel was based on. So it just proves that the author was trying to make it seem like the book was written at the time it was based. Overall, I rate The Witch Of Blackbird Pond a 8/10. I rate it at that because it was a great book to read, but I have enjoyed other books way more than I have enjoyed this one. I am very glad with the decision I made of reading this book.