Women Values And Characters In The Heretic's Daughter

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People are born to instinctively judge others, but there is always more to the story. The book The Heretic's Daughter is written by Kathleen Kent. Kathleen was inspired to write The Heretic's Daughter from the stories that her family told her of the Salem Witch Trials. Kathleen's family is a direct descendant of a family who lived during the Salem Witch Trials. Kent is a tenth generation descendant of Martha Carrier who was one of the first women to be accused, tried, and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. The story is told through a young Sarah Carrier’s point of view. Like her mother, Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter …show more content…
Martha is brave and stubborn which she retains throughout the trials and to her death. After the bout of smallpox had left its mark on the Carrier family, the family was ordered to leave Andover after their isolation, but the Reverend Dane talked the selectmen into allowing them to stay. They stayed at Grandmother Carrier’s house because Martha refused to leave. “Mother’s stubbornness would be deeply resented by our neighbors and, in particular, the new young minister of Andover, Reverend Thomas Barnard” (73). Martha Carrier is characterized as an independent and free-willed person. This characteristic may be foreshadowing future events. This may be the reason Martha is accused of witchcraft. Her stubbornness adds to a theme of individual vs. society. Martha Carrier is an unusual woman in this era. Women were usually more submissive characters, however, she is the complete opposite which goes against the Puritan beliefs and causes the society to resent her. Shortly after that, Martha and Sarah had traveled to Samuel Preston’s land to complain about his cow eating and trespassing onto their lands. Preston is used to intimidating women. “I don’t think, until that moment, a woman had ever met his anger without a bowed head and a curved back” (118). Martha Carrier is portrayed as a stubborn and independent. She vocally voices her opinions and does not allow people to boss her around. She is characterized as …show more content…
Initially, Martha seems austere and harsh. Throughout the book, her character is developed and new opinions are able to be formed. Martha can be sympathized more. Martha Carrier had a sharp tongue and she used it to handle those who tried to shame her into submission using scripture. They would quote scripture that pointed out her failure to submit and she would just as quickly quote another scripture that exposed their insincerity and hypocrisy. The person left having failed at bringing her under proper authority. This showed that she was not only quick and intelligent but also willing to stand up for herself. She was unwilling to ‘go along to get along’ and although this probably made her life hard, she was living her life according to her own principles. She was more than a sharp tongue and abrasive personality though. She thoughtfully preserved her husband’s history respecting the blood spilled and lives given in the process. She nursed her mother and son in sickness and did what was necessary to take care of her family; all the while being true to her own ethics. She was a complex

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