The Devil’s ShadowTime Setting: The Devil’s Shadow by Clifford Lindsey Alderman took place in thelate seventeenth century from 1692-1693. This is the time period that the SalemWitch Trials took place. The main plot of the story rested on the eventsleading up to the Salem Witch Trials, the trials themselves, and the aftermathof the trials. Detailed accounts of witch executions, the actual trials, andthe events that caused the trials were discussed in the story. Place Setting: Most of the action in this story took place in Salem,Massachusetts. This was the birthplace of the witchcraft hysteria and it wasalso the actual site of the Salem Witch Trials.
The town of Salem,Massachusetts in the late seventeenth century was a small puritan community thatwas largely uneducated and very superstitious. Since many lacked education,they did not understand many events that happened in their daily lives. Manythings that went wrong in their daily lives would be blamed on witchcraft orsorcery. Such common things as burnt bread or broken plates would be blamed onthe supernatural.
Many people, especially the uneducated, firmly believed inthe existence of witches and warlocks. They believed that such individuals hadthe power to perform “black magic” that caused some kind of trouble. Every timesomething bad happened they would blame it on witches and witchcraft. Main Characters: One of the main characters in this story was Tituba, anAfrican slave woman from Barbados. She was purchased in Barbados by a merchantnamed Samuel Parris.
She lived in Barbados until Samuel Parris brought her toSalem to work as his servant. She was known to practice Obeah, an African cultsorcery. People who performed or practiced Obeah were said to be able topredict the future, make magical charms, and drive away evil spirits. Titubawas accused of teaching witchcraft to a small group of girls in Salem. Samuel Parris, another main character in this story, was a merchant whoattended Harvard University.
He was the owner of Tituba and her husband. Hehad studied to become a minister before he left Harvard. He was a business manwho traded slaves, sugar, and rum in Barbados. Things began to not work out forhim when he started making less and less money. He gave up his career as amerchant in 1689 and moved to Salem to become a minister.
Other main characters in this story include the girls that were taughtwitchcraft by Tituba, the judges in the courtroom, and the men and women whowere accused of witchcraft. Two Important Events: One important event in this story was when the hystericalgirls are assumed to have been influenced by Tituba’s witchcraft. This eventfit into the story because it triggered the witchcraft hysteria that followed it. Many people suddenly became accused after the girls became associated withTituba and witchcraft. This event gave a good illustration of life in the lateseventeenth century by showing how paranoid people were about the presence ofwitchcraft in their society. They were ready to believe that people werewitches at the drop of a hat, and because of this, they unjustly accused andmurdered hundreds of people.
This can be seen as the starting point of thewitchcraft hysteria in Salem that killed so many people. Another important event in this story was when everything began to getout of control and people were being accused of witchcraft by the dozens. Itbecame a choice on whether or not you were going to accuse someone else in orderto save yourself. People that were accused just accused different people inorder to save themselves from hanging. Soon, everyone was accusing everyoneelse, and the trials had gone into utter chaos.
This changed the course ofhistory because it made people realize how pointless the while witchcrafthysteria really was. It was also the first step towards the end of the hysteria. Class Differences in Society: By reading this story, I learned about the classdifferences in the society of Salem in the late seventeenth century. The factthat all of the blame was put on an African American slave woman from the startshows that the higher class people tended to blame the lower class people fortheir problems. Also, people accused of witchcraft instantly became looked downon in society. This relates to the fact that people tended to accuse peoplethat were already looked down on by society in order to lend credibility totheir accusation.
All of these things have helped me to realize that classdifferences are evident in every society. It has also led me to believe thatclass differences significantly affect the outcome of many historical events.