The Crucible and the Salem Witch Trials 10th Grade Language Arts
Now that we’ve read, The Crucible , use your journal to ask yourself:
Is there any issue, concern, or debate that you felt so strongly about that you asked yourself, “how can I do something to help or change it?”
Has anyone ever accused you (or someone you know) of wrongdoing, even though you knew you were innocent?
How did it make you feel?
How did you correct their error, or did you even try?
The accusation does not have to be a serious offence, it can be as small as someone asking, “Did you tell Sally that you thought my dress was ugly?”
In this lesson: We are going to examine the Power words can have. We are going to choose a side, explaining why we are For or Against the Salem Witch Trials, and write a letter to Sir William Phips, governor of Massachusetts in 1692. Governor Phips Governor Phips
Let’s Talk about Thomas Brattle
One of the most notable criticizers of the Salem Witch Trials
In 1692, Brattle wrote his now famous letter (dated October 8th) to an English clergyman
The letter showed his great disapproval of the trials
In it, he questioned the legality of using “spectral evidence” to find a person guilty.
He criticized the courts for the ways in which the accusations, arrests, trials, and executions were carried out.
The letter became widely circulated and read by many persons, including Governor Sir William Phips.
Words can have Power and Influence:
Brattle ends his letter with a statement that shows his understanding of how these trials will shape the image of American History:
“ I am afraid that ages will not wear off that reproach and those stains which these things will leave behind them upon our land.”
The letter, along with other publications of the time, had a great influence on the governor.
Who are Increase and Cotton Mather?
Shortly after Brattle’s letter was written, Governor Phips ordered that the courts could no longer allow the use of spectral and intangible evidence.
Later in the month, the governor dissolved the court entirely.
Over 6 months later, the newly created Superior Court of Massachusetts took over the remaining witchcraft cases where no persons tried were found guilty.
Now, it’s your turn
For this assignment, you will:
Learn vocabulary terms
Read a summarized version of Thomas Brattle’s famous letter and two more (modern) versions of persuasive writing
Compose your own letter to Governor Phips, using persuasive writing to either praise him and the Salem Witch Trials or criticize them and urge him to stop the trials
We will break into groups to complete the vocabulary guide and then use the links I provide to gather information needed to compose your letter
Thomas Brattle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Brattle
Students will be able to write a letter using a persuasive argument that demonstrates their understanding of the effects word choices can have on a reader.
California Content Standards
10th Grade Language Arts
Writing Applications 2.4:
Write persuasive compositions:
a. Structure ideas and arguments in a sustained and logical fashion.
b. Use specific rhetorical devices to support assertions (e.g., appeal to logic through reasoning; appeal to emotion or ethical belief; relate a personal anecdote, case study, or analogy).
c. Clarify and defend positions with precise and relevant evidence, including facts, expert opinions, quotations, and expressions of commonly accepted beliefs and logical reasoning.
d. Address readers’ concerns, counterclaims, biases, and expectations.
Other Standards that will be met
Reading Comprehension: 2.2, 2.3
Writing Strategies: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6
All images retrieved from, http://www.google.com/images?q=the+crucible&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&prmd=ivnsb&source=lnms&tbs=isch:1&ei=jTOaTeOsCKzciAKD7bSdCQ&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=2&ved=0CBsQ_AUoAQ&biw=885&bih=866 and http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&biw=885&bih=866&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=the+salem+witch+trials&aq=f&aqi=g9&aql=&oq =
Lesson Plan: The Crucible by Arthur Miller (author unknown). Retrieved from, http://www.sdcoe.net/score/cruc/cructg.html
“ Letter of Thomas Brattle, F. R. S., 1692” retrieved from, http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/Bur2Nar.html
Salem Witch Trials: Documentary Archive and Transcription Project. (2002). Retrieved from, http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/salem/home.html
Salem Witch Trials: The Stones, A Memorial, Chronology. Retrieved from, http://www.salemweb.com/memorial/
Thomas Brattle. (n. d.) In Wikipedia online. Retrieved from, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Brattle