Life in Puritan America
Often in literature characters are influenced by the religious and social
customs of the period in which they live. By researching various
aspects of Puritan life during the seventeenth century in America you
will develop insight into the behavior of particular literary characters in
The Crucible and The Scarlet Letter. You will also see the parallels to
modern day life that makes these works of literature so timeless.
In preparation for reading Arthur Miller's The Crucible and
Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter you will be expected
to research various events and aspects of Puritan life in the
1600s. You will also explore the authors' biographies and relate
them to the literary themes to be studied.
You will use the Web to obtain information on the following
Daily Life in Salem in the 1600s
Puritanism and Government
Witch-hunts (both 17th century and modern)
Witch trials of 1692
Biography of Arthur Miller
Biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne
You will be assigned to a group that will plan a presentation to instruct
your classmates about your particular topic of study. Your presentation
may include role playing, costumes, panel discussions, Power Point, or
any other effective method.
Your group will also be responsible for submitting three questions that
can be used on a quiz about your topic.
A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF SITES TO VISIT FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT
Group 1 Daily Life in Salem
Cassie, Autumn, Brieanne, Luis
Answer the following questions about daily life in the 1600s in Puritan
1. Describe the clothing worn by men and women in Salem.
What types of fabrics were used?
2. How did their clothing support their religious views?
3. Describe the types of homes that probably existed in Salem.
Explain what a palisade is and why it was necessary.
4. Describe the family life of Puritans?
5. Describe a Puritan meal.
6. How did their food and eating habits support their religious
Daily life for Puritans
Group 2 Puritanism and Government
Cora, Tanner, Matt, Emily
Answer the following questions about Puritanism.
1. What are the basic Puritan beliefs? List at least five.
2. What is predestination?
3. How would Puritans view those of other faiths?
4. Why did Puritans come to the New World?
5. List five forces undermining Puritanism in the 1600s.
6. What is a theocracy and how would it affect the view of
Salem residents toward witchcraft?
The Puritans of New England
Theocracy and Puritanism
Attitudes towards other faiths
Group 3 Witchcraft
Frank, Alayna, Tyler, Jeremy
Answer the following questions about witchcraft.
1. Describe maleficium and theological witchcraft.
2. Explain the early legal concepts of witchcraft.
3. Which type of person was most likely to be considered a
4. How did property ownership contribute to accusations
5. Explain ergotism and its relation to the unusual behaviors
displayed by those possessed.
6. Explain how stress and clinical hysteria could account for
some of the unusual behaviors observed.
7. In what forms does witchcraft exist today?
8. How are modern day witches treated?
Witchcraft in Early America
Ergotism and its Unusual Behaviors
Group 4 Witch Trials of 1692 in Salem
John, Jeff, Brittany, Devin
1. Who were these people and what happened to them in 1692?
Giles Corey Martha Corey John Proctor Sarah Osbourne
What was especially bizarre and unfair about the accusation
of Rebecca Nurse?
2. What tragedy befell Ann Putnam to make her suspicious of
Rebecca Nurse? (text p.88 Understanding the Crucible)
3. What personal goals did Thomas Putnam have in accusing
others of witchcraft? (text p.83 Understanding the Crucible )
4. Look at the timeline. What behaviors started to appear
among the villagers?
5. Who were Betty Parris, Abigail Williams, and Tituba?
6. Who was the first person officially executed? How did her
station in society (tavern owner) influence her fate?
7. What happened on October 8, 1692?
Salem Witch Trials
Group 5 20th Century Witch-hunts
Renee, Gary, Ty, Monica
Answer the following questions about witch-hunts.
1. Define witch-hunt.
2. Who was Joseph McCarthy and what did he investigate?
Why were Americans concerned about Communism during the
3. What was the House Un-American Activities Committee? How
were those brought before this committee affected by their
4. What happened when the McCarthy hearings were televised
and he began to accuse Army officers of being Communists?
5. How was McCarthyism a witch-hunt?
6. How might the events in the 1692 witch-hunts be compared
to those of the McCarthy era in the 1950s?
7. Describe some international incidents that could be considered
witch-hunts. (For example, the Japanese internment)
History of Witch Hunts
McCarthyism and Witch Hunts
Group 6 Biography of Arthur Miller
Alexis, Bobbie, Rachel, David
Answer the following questions about Arthur Miller.
1. Give some details about Miller's early life and family.
2. What were his major achievements and awards?
3. Describe Miller's appearance before the House Un-American
4. Describe the effects of the investigation on Miller's writing
of The Crucible.
5. How did Miller's social conscience affect his work?
6. What common theme or themes appear in his works?
More on Miller
Group 7 Biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne
Mikayla, Michael, McKenna
Answer the following questions about Nathaniel Hawthorne.
1. Give some details about Hawthorne's early life and family.
2. How did his Puritan heritage influence him?
3. How did Hawthorne perceive nature?
4. What was his opinion of women writers?
5. What are some common themes that appear in his works?
Life and Works
Evaluation : Presentations begin on Tuesday, September
Your presentation will receive a group grade based on
You must create a minimum 12 slide PowerPoint
presentation on your topic
You will present your topic to the class and “talk” to
your PowerPoint slides. DO NOT SIMPLY CUT AND
PASTE LONG PARAGRAPHS OF INFORMATION
ONTO A SLIDE—SYNTHESIZE THE INFORMATION
WITH “BULLETS” AND EVEN PHOTOS
BE CREATIVE! AND INFORMATIVE
Your presentation must answer all the questions
your group has been assigned. There must be
evidence that all members participated!
Your answers must be accurate and complete.
You should also show some creativity and
maintain the interest of your classmates.
You will be graded on a scale of 200 points.
Your presentation is worth 120 points and your
submission of FOUR quiz questions (WITH
ANSWERS) is worth 80 points.