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Katherine Tyler

Essay by   •  March 6, 2011  •  Essay  •  538 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,820 Views

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April 1687,[1] 16-year-old Katherine Tyler (known throughout the story as Kit) leaves her home in Barbados after her grandfather's death and goes to Wethersfield, Connecticut to live with her aunt and uncle in their small Puritan community.

On the way to her new home, there is a brief stop in Saybrook, a small town just down river from Wethersfield, and four new passengers board the Dolphin, the ship on which Kit is traveling. As the small rowboat returns to the ship, a small girl named Prudence accidentally drops her doll in the water and begs her mother to get it back for her. Her mother, Goodwife Cruff, harshly strikes Prudence and tells her not to be foolish. Impulsively, Kit jumps into the water and retrieves the doll. When she returns to the rowboat, she is met with astonished suspicion as few people in Connecticut could swim so well. Goodwife Cruff is the most cynical of them all, believing Kit is a witch, saying, "No respectable woman could stay afloat like that." After the Dolphin reaches Wethersfield, Kit admits to the captain of the ship that neither her aunt nor uncle know she is coming.

When she arrives in Wethersfield, Kit finds Connecticut very different from Barbados. In her previous home, she had servants but here is expected to work along with the rest of the family. There is none of the luxury to which she was accustomed, and even the weather is miserably cold. She has two cousins, Mercy and Judith. She is required to attend meeting (church) services twice each Sunday, which she finds long and dull. At church, Kit meets the rich, 19-year old William Ashby, who begins courting her, though she does not care for him; originally, her cousin Judith had hoped to marry William, but soon sets her sights on John Holbrook, a divinity student studying with local minister Gershom Bulkeley.

Kit's life improves when she and Mercy begin teaching the 'dame school' for young children. Everything goes well until one day, bored with the normal lessons, Kit decides the children will act out a part from the Bible. Mr. Eleazer Kimberly, the head of the school, enters the house just as things get out of hand. He is outraged at Kit for having the audacity to act out something from the Bible and shuts down the school. Heartbroken, Kit flees to the meadows. While she is there, she meets and befriends the kind, elderly woman named Hanna Tupper, who was outlawed from the Massachusetts colony because she is a Quaker. As outcasts, Kit and Hanna develop a deep relationship, and even after her uncle forbids Kit to continue the friendship, Kit keeps visiting Hanna. During one of her visits, she once again meets the handsome Nathaniel "Nat" Eaton, son of the captain of the Dolphin. Without realizing it, she falls in love with him, and though he doesn't say so, Nat loves her as well. Unfortunately, Nat is banished from Wethersfield after setting lighted jack-o-lanterns

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