Quote 1

"It came all the way from Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope . . . My friend brought the bulb to me, a little brown thing like an onion. I doubted it would grow here, but it just seemed determined to keep on trying and look what has happened."

Kit’s characterization as an outsider is emphasized when she first meets Hannah in Chapter Nine. Hannah shares the thriving exotic flower she keeps in her garden and relays the story of how it came to be in her possession as a direct metaphor for how she views Kit’s arrival in Wethersfield. Kit is meant to represent the exotic bulb from far away that is unlikely to bloom but does so anyway. Hannah’s message to Kit is that it’s possible to grow and thrive even in strange and difficult circumstances. Here, the existence of Hannah’s thriving, exotic bulb and her kind acceptance of Kit lends to the magical tone of the novel. The fact that Hannah has managed to grow a beautiful, tropical flower in the harsh climate of New England ironically hints at the motif of witchcraft. This example of real-life magic, the kind that comes from the heart, contrasts with the Puritan concept of witchcraft presented in the novel as dangerous as evil.

Quote 2

"A man is loyal to the place he loves. For me, the Dolphin there is my country. My father would give his life for the right to sail her when and where he pleases, and so would I . . . I suppose it's like that for these people in Wethersfield. How can a king on a throne in England know what is best for them? A man's first loyalty is to the soil he stands on."

In Chapter Twelve, the historical context of the novel serves as a plot device that highlights the theme of being true to oneself. Nat’s words introduce Kit to the idea that personal freedom, an important value she holds, cannot be achieved without political freedom. Although political conversations may seem mundane, here they serve to highlight shared values and recognizing one’s own true thoughts and feelings. Nat and Kit’s ability to have this type of frank, philosophical conversation even though they come from very different backgrounds proves that they both share values of personal liberty and the freedom to speak one’s mind. The conversation between the two shows how meaningful connections between people can be another form of being true to oneself, and in the case of Kit and Nat, can even blossom into love.

Quote 3

“‘There is no escape if love is not there,’ Hannah had said. Had Hannah known when she herself had not even suspected? It was not escape that she had dreamed about, it was love. And love was Nat.”

In the final chapter, Kit’s memory of Hannah’s earlier advice to her as she considered marrying William displays Kit’s growth. When Hannah first spoke these words, Kit struggled to fully grasp their meaning. At the time, she had not yet developed her intuition enough to be able to decipher what was truly in her heart. Hannah was warning Kit that entering a loveless marriage with William would be a sort of prison. It’s not until Kit has developed her ability for honest self-reflection that she realizes she is in love with Nat. This moment also shows that Kit finally recognizes that the restless longing she has wrestled with throughout the novel was actually her struggle to recognize her true emotions. This moment of understanding marks her maturation from a naïve young girl to an independent and emotionally developed young woman.