Feminism By Minda Wu Essay

2192 words - 9 pages

In 1619, the first colonial women set foot in Jamestown. They were shortly followed by Puritan women, who landed in Massachusetts in 1620. Yet, men had been there since the early 1600's. Women were brought over to the New World when they realized that women did have a function in life and that they needed that in order to have a successful colony. Despite this salvation, women were treated similarly to household servants, there to clean the house, cook, wash, sew, and raise children. Men were dominant and were the head of the family. However, during the Salem Witch Trials, women got a taste of the power they had. Then, as each war arrived and left, women gained more power, more say, until it reached the current momentum of feminism, which is leaning toward a radical reversal of the early colonial days.Women were the predominant accusers and accused during the Salem Witch Trials. However, these accusations seemed almost to work into the palm of Samuel Parris the rather new minister of Salem. After the village decided to stop paying Parris and to drive him out of town, his daughter, Elizabeth Parris, and her friend Abigail Williams began to exhibit strange behavior, similar to those of Martha Goodwin and her siblings' four years earlier. Back then, Goody Glover was hanged for witchcraft and a book was written on how to find witches and the telltale signs. Now, these two girls accused Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne. Two months later, Ann Putman, Jr. and several others also exhibited similar strange behavior and accused Martha Cory of being a witch. Not long thereafter, one of the former accusers, Mary Warren, who had accused her mistress, Elizabeth Procter, admitted to lying and accused the other girls of lying, too. However, under pressure, she recanted her statement and went back to accusing the womenfolk of the village.During these trials, the accused really had no way of defending themselves in a court led by men. They were subjected to "witch's teats" tests and when their husbands protested, they also joined the ranks of the accused. Yet, as the judges sentenced these women to be hanged, there was also a realistic fear on the men's part that these women could do horrifying, powerful things. Although the witch scare may have started as a way for Samuel Parris to keep his job, it escalated into a situation where a woman could accuse a woman she did not like in order to remove her from the community. For example, Mary Warren had had a disagreement with her mistress, Elizabeth Procter not long before she had accused Mrs. Procter. After she realized that Elizabeth was pregnant, she apparently felt regret and recanted her accusation, but it was too late. If she had continued to recant it, she may have ended up being one of the accused. There was an unspoken power about being able to land disliked people in jail in the name of "justice." However, women had only gotten a taste of what they could do as some of the instigations were done at the...

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