The Heretic's Daughter: A Novel Themes

Kathleen Kent
This Study Guide consists of approximately 31 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Heretic's Daughter.
This section contains 1,056 words
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Individual vs. Society

Although America was founded on the principle of religious freedom, in the decades before the American Revolution northern colonists struggled with a form of Puritanism that was rigid, punitive, and even paranoid. If everyday folks could suddenly be vilified as witches and heretics, the word soon got around that conformity was the only way to survive. Thus any extreme form of individualism in speech, thought, or action was regarded with suspicion and could sometimes be fatal. Puritan preachers and their minions performed the role of societal enforcers who, when they weren't burning witches, stayed busy placing the adultery letter "A" on the clothing of those so accused and generally practicing a kind of domestic terrorism unknown in modern times until the rise of the Nazis, followed by the Soviets.

The Carrier family of Billerica is, in this story, defiant of authority, independent, and self-sufficient. When the...

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This section contains 1,056 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Heretic's Daughter: A Novel Study Guide
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