Salem witch trials | Critical Essay by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum

This literature criticism consists of approximately 29 pages of analysis & critique of Salem witch trials.
This section contains 8,587 words
(approx. 29 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum

Critical Essay by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum

SOURCE: "Prologue: What Happened in 1692," in Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974, pp. 1–21.

In the following excerpt, Boyer and Nissenbaum comment on the initial witch arrests in Salem, the delay before the trials, the desire for verifiable evidence, and the influence ministers had on the trials.

It began in obscurity, with cautious experiments in fortune telling. Books on the subject had "stolen" into the land; and all over New England, late in 1691, young people were being "led away with little sorceries." Fearful of the future, they began to cast spells and to practice "conjuration with sieves and keys, and peas, and nails, and horseshoes."1

In Essex Country, Massachusetts, and particularly in the little community of Salem Village, it was mainly young girls who met in small informal...

(read more)

This section contains 8,587 words
(approx. 29 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum
Follow Us on Facebook