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Puritan Values In A Break With Charity, By Ann Rinaldi

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During today’s trials, people are innocent until proven guilty. But long ago, during the Salem Witch Trials, people were guilty until proven innocent. This was not the best system, and its flaws are represented in the novel, A Break with Charity. Set in 17th century Massachusetts, A Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi depicts a young girl at her worst. Susanna English (the main character) lives in Salem Town. The strict Puritan values in Salem leads a circle of girls to portray themselves as haunted by witches, causing chaos for themselves, Susanna, and Tituba. Using dialogue, the author flawlessly shows how poor choices lead to consequences.
Firstly, a circle of girls makes a poor choice of lying about being haunted by witches, which later
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Rinaldi also demonstrates the negative effect of the witch trials with the downfall of Salem’s economy. “...‘businesses went bad because outsiders refused to have dealings with those in Salem for years afterward’”(363). Through dialogue, the author demonstrates how these three outcomes highlight the aftermath of the girls’ faulty decisions.
Another main character, Susanna, does not tell anyone what she knows about the circle of girls, which leads to her family breaking apart. At the start of the novel, Susanna’s father shows that he does not believe in witches when he says “‘Witches in Boston. I didn’t believe it then, and I won’t believe it now’”(69). This obviously influences Susanna, and she does not believe in witchcraft either, which leads her to directly ask Ann Putnam, the ringleader of the circle, what she is up to. There, she comes to know that the girls are faking being haunted, but is threatened by Ann Putnam“‘I think you will not tell what you know,’ she said quietly. ‘For if you do, we will cry out on your parents’”(123). Readers understand that Susanna takes the threat to her parents seriously when she does stay quiet. Even when her mother is named, Susanna does not speak up, for fear that her father, sister, and brother could be named. “...‘or the rest of your family will be named. You have a sister, remember. And a father. And a brother, due back any day now from a sea
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