At Hiruharama

by

Penelope Fitzgerald

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Kitty Character Analysis

Similar to Tanner, Kitty comes to New Zealand from England to find a better life. She was promised the role of a governess (a private tutor for a family’s children) in a well-off family, but when she arrives, she finds that she is treated more as a servant. After meeting Tanner, the two plan a life together. Three years after they first meet, they marry and then move to their homestead in Hiruharama. Two years later, Kitty gets pregnant. At the end of the story, she gives birth to twins, and one of the children—the daughter Tanner discards thinking she is afterbirth—goes on to be a lawyer. Like Tanner, Kitty also looks for the best in others, though she is not afraid to push others to reach their potential. When she first meets Tanner, for example, she gleans that he cannot read. Instead of questioning his worthiness as a suitor based on his social station or opting to find someone of a higher social standing, Mr. Tanner speculates that Kitty insisted that Tanner learn to read before they married.

Kitty Quotes in At Hiruharama

The At Hiruharama quotes below are all either spoken by Kitty or refer to Kitty. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Value and Perception Theme Icon
).
At Hiruharama Quotes

They didn’t have to buy their place, it had been left deserted, and yet it had something you could give a thousand pounds for and not get, and that was a standpipe giving constant clear water from an underground well.

Related Characters: Tanner, Kitty
Related Symbols: Standpipe
Page Number: 408
Explanation and Analysis:

He had made the pigeons’ nest out of packing-cases. They ought to have flown daily for exercise, but he hadn’t been able to manage that. Still, they looked fair enough, a bit disheveled, but not so that you’d notice. It was four o’clock, breezy, but not windy. He took them out into the bright air which, even that far from the coast, was full of the salt of the ocean. How to toss a pigeon he had no idea. He opened the basket, and before he could think what to do next they were out and up into the blue. He watched in terror as after reaching a certain height they began turning round in tight circles as though puzzled or lost. Then, apparently sighting something on the horizon that they knew, they set off strongly toward Awanui.

Related Characters: Tanner, Parrish, Kitty, The Doctor
Page Number: 411
Explanation and Analysis:

The doctor emerged, moving rather faster than he usually did. “Please to go in there and wash the patient. I’m going to look at the afterbirth. The father put it out with the waste.”

There Tanner had made his one oversight. It wasn’t the afterbirth, it was a second daughter, smaller, but a twin.

Related Characters: The Doctor (speaker), Tanner, Kitty
Page Number: 412
Explanation and Analysis:

“I think of myself as one of the perpetually welcome.”

Related Characters: Brinkman (speaker), Tanner, Kitty
Page Number: 412
Explanation and Analysis:

After that the Tanners always had one of those tinplate mottoes hung up on the wall – Throw Nothing Away. You could get them at the hardware store.

Related Characters: Mr. Tanner (speaker), Tanner, Kitty, The Doctor
Page Number: 412
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire At Hiruharama LitChart as a printable PDF.
At Hiruharama PDF

Kitty Character Timeline in At Hiruharama

The timeline below shows where the character Kitty appears in At Hiruharama. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
At Hiruharama
Value and Perception Theme Icon
While running an errand to a dry goods store, Tanner meets Kitty, who also came to New Zealand from England. Like Tanner, she thought she would be... (full context)
Value and Perception Theme Icon
Upward Mobility and Colonialism Theme Icon
Years later, Kitty and Tanner find a remote country place where they start to build their lives together.... (full context)
Value and Perception Theme Icon
Community Theme Icon
About two years later, Kitty tells Tanner that she’s pregnant. Tanner drives into the nearest town, Awanui, to meet with... (full context)
Value and Perception Theme Icon
Community Theme Icon
Upward Mobility and Colonialism Theme Icon
...his sister. In the present, Mr. Tanner thinks that, upon learning that Tanner couldn’t read, Kitty said she wouldn’t marry him until he learned how. In the letter, Tanner relays news... (full context)
Value and Perception Theme Icon
Community Theme Icon
More or less when they expected, Kitty goes into labor. Tanner uses the pigeons to send for the doctor and calculates that... (full context)