Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chapter 7: How to Succeed in Romance without Really Trying

From this chapter, I think we can conclude that first dates in colonial times (or mid-twentieth-century depictions thereof) were no less awkward than their present-day counterparts.

Because William has come to call. And as that's about all he's done ("William seemed to feel that merely by coming he had done his share."), Kit's at a loss.
"When a young man came to call what did one talk about? Was it all up to the girl?"
Let me know when you figure that one out, Kit.

Rachel comes to the rescue, essentially giving Kit permission to end the tete-a-tete and join her cousins and John Holbrook, who are about to make popcorn.
"There was something irresistible about popcorn."

When the conversation once again turns to politics, William gets a rare chance to look good, and Kit takes notice:
"William Ashby was neither speechless nor dim-witted. He even dared to stand up to her uncle!"
But that doesn't mean she's starting to think well of him. Judith can't understand why Kit would hesitate.
"Don't you know William is able to build the finest house in Wethersfield if he wants to? Does he have to keep you amused as well?"
If it were me, and if I were going to be living in the house with him, I wouldn't think that a smattering of conversation now and then would be too much to ask.

A month goes by, and William doesn't appear to be hesitating. However, he also doesn't appear to have asked Kit if they're on the same page.
"Without even asking, he was reckoning on her as deliberately as he calculated his growing pile of lumber."
But even though Kit's not thinking warm fuzzy thoughts about William Ashby, she does notice the contrast that he provides to her new daily routine, of which she is not a fan:
"It was incredible that every day should be the same, varied only in the work that filled every hour from sunrise to dark."
Speare-as-narrator gives us a look into Kit's thoughts here, in a way that doesn't exactly present Kit in a good light.
"Her hands were unskillful not so much from inability as from the rebellion that stiffened her fingers. She was Katherine Tyler. She had not been reared to do the work of slaves."
I find the word choice interesting here -- "reared" instead of the more familiar "she had not been born to..." I wonder if that was a deliberate choice.

Also, we've returned once again to Kit's thoughts on slavery: She doesn't question the institution, or her relationship to it. She only objects to the idea that she's being asked to do the same work as the slaves her grandfather used to own.

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