The Witchcraft Crisis Through Colonial New England

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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…show more content…
Further research could discover evidence with these executions, but from the facts presented this was not present during the periods researched. Feminism has been a topic that is often side-by-side in the discussion of witchcraft, surrounding Salem, Essex County, or the greater regions of colonial New England. Women were persecuted, and undermined by the minds of the colonial men, came from ideals taken from both books. Even though Norton’s narrative represents feminist ideals, her narrative supports men that were accused. She made this known when she discusses the importance of the not before mentioned five men that were executed in Essex County. She acknowledges them in her lecture on February 9th, 2015, as “The men often left out of the story, as most historians tend to focus on the women that were murdered.” The conflict between both books are fought over the broad ideas of feminism in the seventeenth century. Both authors clearly state their beliefs, but only one in successful in presenting pure evidence to back their interpretation. Karlsen emphasizes gender roles in her realistic approach towards the crisis. She discusses the importance of patriarchal order throughout the society, with stress on why the women of this society were accused of witchcraft. Hereditary land distribution seemed to be a reason why certain women were accused. Karlsen also briefly examines, “The concepts of maleficium and the satanic covenant converged in New England when
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