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Vedbraaten 1 Reese Vedbraaten Kurt Reynolds College Comp II Sticky Note Book Report The Salem Witch Trials

According to Me Everyone knows the story of the Salem Witch Trials, or at least they think they do. But What if - Everything they know is wrong? To be honest, there is only one thing we can be completely sure of: Witchcraft Trials took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. Besides that tidbit of information, there are lots of other facts that have been interpreted and could have changed several different ways since. According to the Book, Witch-Hunt: Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials, The actual events that took place that year were surrounded with a series of stories based on misinterpretations, fantasies, and half-truths that were passed along so many times from book to book that eventually they were treated as true (Aronson x). This just reminds us that we have to take everything we have to read about the Salem Witch Trials with a grain of salt. Most of it is inaccurate, although close to the truth. Reading more into that same book about the trials, it tells us: If you have previously read novels for younger readers or popular adult accounts about those fascinating and freighting times, or if you have visited Salem itself, a good part of what you know is wrong (Aronson x). So, how do we find out for ourselves whats right? Complete evidence of what happened in Salem back in 1692 is pretty hard to find. There are court records but those only tell part of the story. That isnt complete evidence. I mean, really, we dont even know what most of the victims back then looked liked, let alone there side of the story.

Vedbraaten 2 There is a play written by Arthur Miller in 1953 called The Crucible. Most people take it as an accurate account of what happened, when in reality it is just that: a play. While most of the characters and events are true and actually happened, several of the details were changed using artistic freedom to make it a better read. The Crucible is a complex story with lots of twists and turns and even a surprise ending. In the next few pages, Im going to attempt to show you the main story line and address two changes made from reality to this particular book. One thing I going to attempt to compare to reality is the first part of the main story line. The Crucible starts off at Reverend Samuel Parriss house in the bedroom of his daughter Betty. Shes lying in bed motionless. Eventually, lots of people come into the scene: including the Reverends niece: Abigail Williams, John Proctor, and his black slave: Tituba. One of the story lines in The Crucible follows Abigail (17) and John (30s). We find out that Abby was working as a servant at the Proctors house and that they had an affair. We then read that Johns wife: Elizabeth found out and released Abigail from working at the house and sent her back home to live with her uncle. In the first scene they have together, Abigail confesses that she still loves him. She asks him if he ever thinks about her, to which he replies: Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before Ill ever reach for you again. Wipe it out of mind. We never touched (Miller 23), He refuses to do anything more with her, saying that the whole affair was a mistake and basically denying that it had ever happened. In the play, this is what sends Abby into a jealous rage trying her best to get Elizabeth and others hanged, so that she can be with John again. Once upon a time, all three of these people were very real. There was a real life Abigail Williams, a real John Proctor and a real life Elizabeth. According to an online article titled, "Abigail Williams in The Crucible", There is no actual evidence that the real John Proctor and

Vedbraaten 3 the real Abigail Williams had an affair (Shmoop Editorial Team), The article talks about how Arthur Miller couldnt figure out why Abigail helped accuse Elizabeth of witchcraft but not John. The answer is simple: in reality, Elizabeth Proctor was first named as a witch by Ann Putnam, not Abigail Williams - Abigail just went along with it. The article also says that: Arthur Miller took creative license with her character to make the connection between sexuality and politics more dramatic. In reality though, Abigail Williams was only eleven years old at the time of the witch trials (Shmoop Editorial Team). At the time of the Trials, real life John was a 70-something, successful tavern keepers and real life Abigail was an 11 year old school girl; I know anythings possible, but I think that age gap is just too big for an affair. I highly doubt they had anything going on. Also, The Crucible makes it sound like there were neighbors, but in reality, I believe that Abigail lived with her uncle: Reverend Samuel Parris and they lived close to eight miles apart. Whats more accurate is that historically: instead of John having an affair with Abigail Williams, John and Elizabeth had a teenage son named William. Another story line in The Crucible follows Reverend Samuel Parriss black slave: Tituba. In The Crucible, Tituba is the first person to confess witchcraft. She does this because she has learned to fear her masters and knows that if you tell them what they want to hear, they will go easier on you. In doing so, she is jailed and beaten instead of hanged. The book Great Mysteries-Opposing Viewpoints: Witches says that: It was Tituba, the Parris familys slave, who eventually was blamed for much of the trouble. Tituba was born on the islands of Barbados in the West Indies. Tituba knew a lot about casting spells and telling fortunes because witchcraft had been part of her life in Barbados (Stevens, 32). I believe that this is incorrect for at least two reasons.

Vedbraaten 4 First off, I read in Witch-Hunt: Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials that Tituba wasnt black, but Indian. It states that in that book, they refer to the Indian people as Indian instead of Native American because: using Native American would lead to a hopeless muddle when referring to Tituba, an Indian from Barbados, who may or may not have had North American Indian roots. She was native and American but probably not Native American in the modern sense (Aronson xvi), To me, this makes more sense. The 1600s was a long time before the real black slave took off in America and Indians would have been much more readily available. Later on, the book repeats itself, reinforcing the fact that: Tituba was certainly an Indian, not African (Aronson xi), but also bring up new information and saying that: there is absolutely no evidence that she made use of any rituals of her own. If she practiced any magic at all, she used techniques she learned from the English (Aronson xi). In The Crucible, Tituba is blamed for using witchcraft on Betty and the other girls. That brings up my other point; using the book Witch-Hunt: Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials again, it tells us that: The Tituba who appears in many novels, plays, and even older history books about Salem brings pagan, voodoo like island beliefs and rituals with her to New England. It is not surprising, then that she was at the heart of the case from the start (Aronson 66-67). As you read most of these novels and plays, its only natural for you to start thinking bad about Tituba. It would be helpful if we all knew, what I believe is the true story. Then, maybe our minds would be a little more open. Researching deeper, Ive read that the real Tituba probably didnt even use magic and if she did: the slave woman who appears in the actual records is insistent that she used only the magic taught to her by her English neighbors and mistresses. There is absolutely no reason to doubt her (Aronson 66-67). I believe that the real Tituba, much like the Tituba in The Crucible,

Vedbraaten 5 confessed because she learned to fear her masters and knows that if you tell them what they want to hear, they go easier on you. I dont think she confessed because she was guilty. In doing so, both real life Tituba and The Crucibles Tituba were jailed and beaten instead of hanged. In Conclusion, Believe what you want, thats what I do. Anyways, there you have it, what I think happened way back when in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. The Salem Witch Trials threw my eyes - my side of the story.

Vedbraaten 6 Work Cited Aronson, Marc. Witch-Hunt: Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials. New York, New York: Athenaeum Books for Young Readers, 2003. Print.

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York: Penguin Classics, 1981. Print.

Shmoop Editorial Team. "Abigail Williams in The Crucible." Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 6 Dec. 2011.

Stevens, Bryna. Great Mysteries-Opposing Viewpoints: Witches. San Diego, California: Greenhaven Press, 1988. Print.