Harvest

by

Jim Crace

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The original owner of the land on which the village is situated. He administers the property on behalf of his wife, Lucy Kent, but since she’s recently died without children, her cousin, Edmund Jordan, inherits the land and soon ousts Master Kent. Like Walter, Master Kent is a childless widower; in fact, Walter’s mother nursed Master Kent as a baby, making them “milk cousins” and childhood playmates. The two men share a certain kinship despite the vast differences in their socioeconomic positions. As the only landowner in a town without any formal government, Master Kent exercises total authority over the village. He’s a gentle man, however, reluctant to exercise that authority or even to remind the villagers of his rank. It’s Master Kent’s kindly nature that facilitates the peaceful and egalitarian village life, but this character also makes him unable to combat his rapacious cousin. While he’s deeply sympathetic to the plight of the villagers, he ultimately does nothing to protect them from losing their home.

Master Kent Quotes in Harvest

The Harvest quotes below are all either spoken by Master Kent or refer to Master Kent. 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:
Renewal and Decay Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Harvest published in 2013.
Chapter 2 Quotes

But what are documents and deeds when there are harvests to be gathered in? Only toughened hands can do that job. And Master Kent, for all his parchmenting, would be the poorest man if all he had to work his property were his own two hands and no others […] Ours are the deeds that make the difference.

Related Characters: Walter Thirsk (speaker), Master Kent
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

The organization to all of our advantages that the master has in mind–against his usual character and sympathies, against his promises–involves the closing and engrossment of our fields with walls and hedges, ditches, gates. He means to throw a halter round our lives. He means the clearing of our common land.

Related Characters: Walter Thirsk (speaker), Master Kent
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

But this was precisely what I most liked about this village life, the way we had to press our cheeks and chests against a living, fickle world which in the place where I and Master Kent had lived before only displayed itself as casual weeds in cracks or on our market stalls where country goods were put on sale, already ripe, and magicked up from God knows where.

Related Characters: Walter Thirsk (speaker), Master Kent
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

I bring you sheep, and I supply a Holy Shepherd too. There’ll be a steeple, higher than the turret of this house, taller than any ancient oak that we might fell. This place will be visible from far. And I will have a bell cast for the very top of it to summon everyone to prayer. And hurry everyone to work.

Related Characters: Edmund Jordan (speaker), Master Kent
Related Symbols: Sheep
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

Dissent is never counted. It is weighed. The master always weighs the most. Besides, they can’t draw up a petition and fit it to the doorway of the church as other places do. It only takes a piece of paper and a nail, that’s true. But, even if they had a doorway to a church, none of them has a signature.

Related Characters: Walter Thirsk (speaker), Master Kent, Edmund Jordan, Lizzie Carr
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

“I have the sense my cousin is taking pleasure from sowing these anxieties, in the same way we take pleasure in the sowing of our seed,” says Master Kent. “I fear his harvesting. I think he means to shear us all, then turn us into mutton.”

Related Characters: Master Kent (speaker), Walter Thirsk, Edmund Jordan
Related Symbols: Sheep
Page Number: 142
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

We’re used to looking out and seeing what’s preceded us, and what will also outlive us. Now we have to contemplate a land bare of both. Those woods that linked us to eternity will be removed by spring […] That grizzled oak which we believe is so old it must have come from Eden to our fields will be felled and rooted out.

Related Characters: Walter Thirsk (speaker), Master Kent, Edmund Jordan
Page Number: 174
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Harvest LitChart as a printable PDF.
Harvest PDF

Master Kent Character Timeline in Harvest

The timeline below shows where the character Master Kent appears in Harvest. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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The second fire is more worrying, because it comes from the landlord, Master Kent’s , property. The villagers worry that the manor house itself is on fire, and that... (full context)
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...on the edge of the field, making a map of the land on behalf of Master Kent . A well-dressed young man, the stranger is pleasant and shows everyone his drawings. He... (full context)
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...“divided into shares and portions for the larder” but rather sold. The villagers wonder if Master Kent is so financially strapped that he’s planning to sell the land. (full context)
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...men swagger as if to suggest their willingness to defend the land with their lives. Master Kent’s doves have landed in the fields and are picking at the fallen grain, which the... (full context)
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...Everyone else goes home, where they convince themselves that nothing bad will happen after all. Master Kent has always taken good care of the village, and there’s no real evidence that he’s... (full context)
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...purposefully set a fire would be hanged. However, the only source of authority here is Master Kent , who is “timid” about punishing the villagers, aware that to do so is to... (full context)
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...worried and guilty. They are “too noisy and too keen” in fighting the fire, wanting Master Kent to notice how loyal they are. Moreover, once everyone agrees that someone must have set... (full context)
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...the edge of the woods; the villagers can still see the smoke from their fire. Master Kent says that they will “call on them” after the buildings have been made safe. He’s... (full context)
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Walter knows that he should tell Master Kent about the moonball, but he doesn’t want to get the Derby twins, and Brooker in... (full context)
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...to save some of the hay from the barn. His left palm is completely scorched. Master Kent takes him by the shoulders and hugs him. Walter is most concerned about his own... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Without Walter, the villagers proceed in a large group towards the remaining fire. Master Kent rides in the back, “mindful of his horse’s dung.” Some of the villagers are armed... (full context)
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Master Kent may own the land, which he’s inherited through his wife, Lucy Kent, but the villager’s... (full context)
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...the outside world,” so inhospitable that no new person has settled there since Walter and Master Kent arrived a dozen years ago. Still, Walter knows he is part of the village now,... (full context)
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The villagers, Master Kent , and Mr. Quill arrive at the shack, where the fire is burning out. In... (full context)
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Master Kent comes forward on Willowjack, his impressive horse. He demands they put the longbows aside, saying... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...gather in the remaining barn, lying on bales of hay and consuming the rich food Master Kent provides for the harvest feast. Master Kent has killed one of his own calves for... (full context)
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...unbuilt church, taller than a man and shaped like a cross. In front of it, Master Kent officiates weddings, funerals, and baptisms. Both Master Kent’s wife Lucy and Walter’s Cecily had their... (full context)
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Now, at the feast, Master Kent stands up to make a speech. He introduces Mr. Quill, whose real name is Philip... (full context)
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Master Kent stands uncertainly for a moment without explaining, but Walter knows what’s coming, having feared this... (full context)
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Master Kent presents these changes as a “dream” he’s had. In the dream, all the villagers, whom... (full context)
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...no one is in a position to object right now. They’ve all dined well on Master Kent’s food, and everyone is a little drunk. To lighten the mood, Thomas Rogers picks up... (full context)
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...encapsulated the land with his pen. A middle-aged widower, Walter stands to the side with Master Kent and watches the young people drawing closer together than they should. The sight reminds Walter... (full context)
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...at the edge of the feast. Walter recognizes the shawl he’s heard so much about. Master Kent nudges him and points, nicknaming the woman Mistress Beldam; soon, everyone has stopped dancing to... (full context)
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Master Kent asks Walter to find Mistress Beldam and bring her to the barn, where she can... (full context)
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Then Walter goes in search of Mistress Beldam. He’s always been loyal to Master Kent’s instructions, having known him since childhood; Walter’s father worked for Master Kent’s, and his own... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...ribbons, garlands, and gold paste from flowers and are lined up, waiting to be judged. Master Kent arrives on Willowjack, his hat ornamented with green and yellow cloth. (full context)
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Master Kent begins his speech, which follows the same pattern year after year. The barley the villagers... (full context)
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Master Kent says that Mr. Quill, as an honored guest, will choose the Gleaning Queen. Mr. Quill... (full context)
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...four-year-old. She’s delighted to be chosen but scared to hold his hand; to placate her, Master Kent gives her his green sash, making all the other girls jealous. Her father and uncle... (full context)
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Master Kent stands watching the gleaning. He knows Walter hasn’t found Mistress Beldam, but he seems more... (full context)
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More somberly, Mr. Quill says that Master Kent has asked him to convey some information to Walter. In fact, Master Kent does not... (full context)
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...and feels suddenly disloyal. Right after this thought, he and Mr. Quill catch sight of Master Kent , riding in circles around the pillory on his horse. He’s reciting the prayers for... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...at least a busy town, but instead he arrives to a burned-out barn and sees Master Kent , his cousin, helping Mr. Quill carrying the old man’s body away from the pillory... (full context)
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...Walter and Mr. Quill cover the old man’s eyes and put a sheet over him, Master Kent prays over the body. Although he rarely prays, Walter joins in; he feels culpable in... (full context)
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...fall because one of the hogs was bothering him. When the young man cursed at Master Kent that morning, he must have already been dead. (full context)
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...any way, but he acts like he is. Coming back to the door, Walter hears Master Kent giving his cousin an account of recent events and Master Jordan lamenting that the manor... (full context)
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...they can’t even imagine, while servants rise early to keep floors and furniture clean. Even Master Kent’s childhood home was much larger and more imposing. (full context)
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...rooms smelled good and that village women came to cook and clean. Since her death, Master Kent has closed off many of the rooms and allowed the woodwork to decay. He himself... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...Kent’s mirror and could barely believe he was looking at his own face. Now, since Master Kent buried his wife’s mirror with her body, Walter figures his “nearest likeness is two days’... (full context)
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...an “efficient” and sensible man, although “sometimes his sense is colder than an icicle.” When Master Kent relays the story of the strangers, Master Jordan says that his cousin has been too... (full context)
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...plans for “Progress and Prosperity.” His plan is no different from the one of which Master Kent spoke at the harvest feast, but Jordan says nothing about “friends and neighbors” or benefits... (full context)
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Jordan will allow Master Kent to stay on in the village, administering his affairs and directing his laborers. At the... (full context)
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Master Kent speaks up, reminding his cousin that there are sixty villagers who depend on the common... (full context)
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...to be the only one who knows what’s in store for the village, and that Master Kent and all the villagers are now “displaced.” However, he wants to make plans for his... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...discarded in the Bottom. Walter notices that Brooker Higgs and the Derby twins look terrified. Master Kent says nothing, and all the villagers can tell he’s no longer in charge. (full context)
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After the gathering, Master Kent relates his grievances to Walter. Jordan wanted to sell Willowjack’s carcass to grease makers, and... (full context)
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Walter imagines Master Kent has been planning his negotiations with Jordan long before the new master arrived or anyone... (full context)
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...they reach his own house, a scrap of bloody cloth raises Master Jordan’s suspicions until Master Kent explains that it’s a bandage from Walter’s hands, damaged in his loyal attempt to preserve... (full context)
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...where Cecily grew up, Master Jordan discovers a bloodstained piece of cloth, which Walter and Master Kent immediately recognize as Mistress Beldam’s shawl. Jordan demands that Walter identify the shawl’s owner but... (full context)
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Any man besides Master Kent would be angry at a woman who killed his beloved horse; however, he seems neither... (full context)
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Jordan questions Master Kent about the younger stranger, still imprisoned in the pillory. Affecting to be concerned that the... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...when the sheep push him out of the village. It’s sad to think of leaving Master Kent , but he’d prefer that to living under Master Jordan’s rule. He works as meticulously... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...Mr. Quill, who is after all a disabled man of uncertain fortunes, he should ask Master Kent to employ him again. He can help his old master stand up to Jordan and... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...explains that the sidemen kept them waiting outside the house, refusing to let them see Master Kent or Master Jordan. Instead, Mr. Baynham came to the door and suggested cryptically that there’s... (full context)
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Soon afterwards, Master Kent visits Walter in his cottage to present his own version of events. He spent the... (full context)
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Master Kent is evidently ashamed to have been powerless to stop the men, but Walter imagines they... (full context)
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Master Kent says that Kitty Gosse identified herself as a witch while trying to spare Anne and... (full context)
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...the men weren’t satisfied with the names of “followers,” and demanded to know the leader. Master Kent heard Anne Rogers name “the gentleman,” and imagines she mimicked Mr. Quill’s walk to implicate... (full context)
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...line with Anne and Kitty’s confessions, implicating Mr. Quill and connecting him to the strangers. Master Kent says that Mr. Quill is still at large, but that Jordan’s men are searching for... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...He imagines the man feels dissatisfied, since as a lesser servant he had to guard Master Kent during the night and played no part in the torture. Now he must be eager... (full context)
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On the other hand, Master Kent has told Walter that Master Jordan doesn’t suspect him, and on the contrary considers him... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...his own questions without associating himself with the imprisoned “witches,” Walter says that he’s worried Master Kent will be “deposed,” showing his loyalty to his old master. Jordan reassures Walter that Master... (full context)
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...very bruised, and that he hopes he won’t incur any more injuries. Walter looks at Master Kent , who is strangely composed, evidently resigned to “progress of a sort.” (full context)
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Jordan informs Walter that he and Master Kent will leave today, taking the prisoners with them. He wants Walter to stay behind as... (full context)
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Master Kent accompanies Walter to the orchard, where the horses are tethered; Walter says he and his... (full context)
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Master Kent says he will never return to the village, and hugs Walter fiercely. Walter imagines a... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Not wanting to be seen, Walter sneaks into the lane, where he finds Master Kent leaning against an elm. He tells Walter that the land, which used to be “so... (full context)
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...the unusual haste. While he waits for the men and horses to appear, he considers Master Kent’s final expression, wondering if it was a plea or a warning. It reminds him of... (full context)
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Soon, Walter sees Master Kent and Master Jordan riding next to each other. Their large hats identify them as rich... (full context)
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...Walter sees Kitty, Anne, and Lizzie pass by, looking down and guarded by the men. Master Kent is too far ahead to watch them, and Walter hopes the servants won’t abuse the... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...that Mr. Quill has bravely stayed on to help those left behind. Walter wonders if Master Kent found a way to warn him, but imagines he would have told Walter if this... (full context)
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...have left before. He thinks of packing up and leaving this morning, but then remembers Master Kent’s strange farewell and knows he has unfinished work in the village. (full context)
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...has recently occurred. It seems like ages since Mr. Quill named the Gleaning Queen and Master Kent made his customary speech. Walter remembers that Master Kent amended his speech, no longer promising... (full context)
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...is so excited that he tells the man all about Cecily, his close relationship with Master Kent , and his new respect for Mr. Quill. He even talks about oxen, which he... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...bed, he designates one as Mr. Quill, one as Kitty, one as John, another as Master Kent , two more for the young man and Mistress Beldam, and the last as Cecily.... (full context)
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...is everything he needs in order to leave the village, including a silver spoon that Master Kent gave him on his wedding day. He’s even wearing his walking boots and equipped with... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...hasn’t been so close to the edge of the boundary for years, and he recalls Master Kent’s dictum that “if we stay within our bounds, there are no bounds to stay us.”... (full context)