The Witchcraft Crisis Through Colonial New England

1419 WordsNov 19, 20156 Pages
The witchcraft crisis through colonial New England is visualized through the work of Mary Beth Norton and Carol F. Karlsen. The scholars demonstrate deep understanding in the subject, and both present valid information through their overall theses. In order to understand the complete story of witchery in the seventeenth-century, these two books intrigue the reader in what the authors want to present. Although, their research seems bias, both historians similarly delve into the topic with an open mind, and successfully uncover information that has not be presented before. Not only does Norton’s In the Devil’s Snare and Karlsen’s The Devil in the Shape of a Woman both represent the study of witchcraft through feminist ideals, Karlsen’s narrative also delves deeper into the scope of feminism, and the sexual organization of society, with deep emphasis on themes regarding what roles women played in Puritan society. Witchcraft during the seventeenth-century, has been described by Karlsen as “the primarily story of women, and this is suspect accounts for much fascination and the elusiveness attending the subject.” Women were accused of terrible crimes during this period, and had to pay the ultimate price. Being ridiculed, hanged, or pressed by stone, were all common ways of execution in colonial New England— assuring the common knowledge misconception of witches being burned at the steak. In both narratives, Karlsen and Norton present no evidence stating that witches were burnt on
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