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The Crucible by Arthur Miller - Barron's Booknotes
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All of this is complicated, even to an adult. But put yourself in
the place of a nine-year-old girl named Betty Parris. All you
know is that the winter has been long and boring, that the
grownups are more cranky than usual so they punish you more
often, and that you must have sinned with your teeth because
one of them aches. If all this isn't enough, you have to be better
than the other children in Salem Village, because your father is
the minister. For weeks now your older cousin Abigail Williams
has been making you sit with her and listen to your father's
slave Tituba tell shocking stories of her former life as a heathen
in the Barbados. It was bad enough with just the two of you, but
Abby never could keep a secret, and now there are ten or twelve
of her friends who turn up at the back door as soon as your
father walks out the front, begging Tituba for more. At first it
was exciting, in a scary sort of way, but lately Tituba's taken to
acting out her heathen rituals, showing how they used to conjure
spirits to foretell the future. You know you're damned if you
keep this up, but Abby's slammed the door on your only way
out: she'll kill you if you tell. Your soul is suffocating in sin, and
you can't sleep any more for fear of the nightmares that always
come.



The pressure was enough to give anyone a nervous breakdown.
Betty Parris "freaked out." Abigail Williams, for all her daring,
wasn't immune, and soon she began trying to fly and bursting
into howls whenever her uncle prayed aloud or read the
Scriptures, just like her cousin Betty. Then Betty, in one of her
fits, let slip the name Tituba, and... but this is where the play
starts.

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The Crucible by Arthur Miller - Barron's Booknotes
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