Witch Child Summary & Study Guide

Celia Rees
This Study Guide consists of approximately 50 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Witch Child.
This section contains 488 words
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Witch Child Summary & Study Guide Description

Witch Child Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Witch Child by Celia Rees.

"Witch Child" by Celia Rees is an epistolary novel about a fourteen-year-old girl who flees the witch hunts in England and settles in a Puritan colony in America. After Mary's grandmother is executed as a witch, Mary flees her native England for a newfound colony in America, developing strong friendships and beginning to learn the power within herself as she finds her place in the New World. However, when the witch hunts begin in her new home, Mary fears her true nature will be discovered. "Witch Child" is a disturbing tale of a young girl tormented for things within herself which she did not choose.

After Mary's grandmother is hanged as a witch, Mary is spirited away by a noblewoman, her long-lost mother, who sends her to America to escape persecution. On the ship across the sea, Mary befriends Martha, Jonah, and the Riverses, constantly fearing her true nature will be revealed whenever witches are mentioned which occurs whenever things go badly. Once they reach Salem, they continue on to Beulah, the settlement in the wilderness that has been built by the preceding congregation. Mary lives with Martha, Jonah and Tobias, while the Riverses build a home next to them. She spends a lot of time in the forest helping Jonah, an apothecary, learn the healing properties of local plants. Mary soon meets and befriends Jaybird, an Indian who teaches her about the land.

When Reverend Johnson asks Martha to tend his sick children, he also questions Mary's faith in God. While helping Goody Johnson, Mary learns that Reverend Johnson saved his wife from being drowned as a witch. She believes she would rather die than live Goody Johnson's life. After Goody Johnson dies during childbirth, Reverend Johnson pursues Rebekah Rivers, despite the fact that she is promised to Tobias, Jonah's son, and when his suit is denied, Reverend Johnson insinuates that he suspects Mary of witchcraft. The Vane sisters and their friends accuse Mary of witchcraft, promising to keep her secret if she aids them in securing their future husbands, but they begin dabbling in witchcraft themselves when Mary refuses.

As signs of witchcraft are found in the forest, Martha finds Mary's journal and wants to destroy the dangerous memoir, but instead, Mary sews her journal into her quilt. Mary is questioned when girls' undergarments are found in the woods, but she has an alibi, and the Vanes' story is believed. However, when the Vanes are caught dancing naked in the woods, they feign madness and so a witch hunter is summoned. The witch hunter recognizes Mary from England and the other girls join his accusations. Mary flees to the Riverses' house where she is provided with food and clothes for her flight to the wilderness. Martha adds to Mary's journal that she, Jonah, and the Riverses will soon follow Mary out of Beulah and she hopes that Mary will rejoin them someday.

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This section contains 488 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Witch Child Study Guide
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