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Why Parris?

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Why Parris? - Page Text Content

S: Why Parris? by: Katie Borders

FC: Why Parris? by: Katie Borders

1: “All innocent and Christian people are happy for the courts in Salem! These people are gloomy for it.”

2: Journal #1: Descriptive Night casts its mantle of darkness over the town of Salem; the moon mumbling spells to twist ordinary objects into shadow. It calls me forth, beckoning me into the woods, feet dubiously marching the twig-ridden path. I have not walked far when ahead I see an orange mien around a cluster of tree trunks; among their fellows, they alone seem to have been favored by God and granted life again in the omnipotent darkness. I creep closer to the warm light, curiosity taking over, dragging me in. Silhouettes dance, arms flung high and twirling around as if to rid themselves of evil spirits, or perhaps to conjure them. I have ne'er seen the like of it. Edging closer still, I can see the bodies responsible. They are women, girls from the village, fourteen, fifteen of them maybe... Unaware of my presence, I decide to watch and see what will happen. They dance still, lips mumbling a foreign language. But wait. There...near the fire... is Abigail, my niece. She is drinking something. What it is I cannot see, but a few of the girls let out a screech. They continue their dancing, a couple of the girls, though I cannot be sure, seem to move with a slight fear to their step. Beside Abigail is Tituba, chanting Barbados in a hauntingly soulful voice. They seem to be transfixed by the drone of their own words. Out of the corner of my eye I glimpse a flash of—could it be?—a naked girl running amok through the trees. What has come over these children? Where did we go wrong? Why could possibly motivate them to go against our laws and throw themselves about in the woods? It must be the work of the Devil. Still watching, I spot a face. It, like the others are familiar to me but this one more so than the others. This one is the face of my daughter. “Betty!” I cry, pushed to the breaking point. Children scatter as I march over to my lone child, now flailing and screaming about on the ground.

3: Descriptive writing vividly portrays a person, place, or thing in such a way that the reader can visualize the topic and enter into the writer's experience.

4: Journal #2: Narrative Betty is sick. My child lies lethargic in her bed and there is nothing I can do but pray for her. She has been in this state since the night I caught her dancing in the woods, a spirit or something come over her. On my knees, tears threatening and then spilling over, the prayers come through mumbling lips. Tituba, my Negro, enters the room. I see not the worry in her eyes only that she was in the woods as well, chanting and dancing. "Out of here!" I scream at her, and she obeys, though I would expect nothing less. I am overcome with sobs once more, failing to hold them back. Fear shakes my body. "Oh, my God! God help me!" I take my child's hand as Abigail walks in to tell me that Susanna Walcott, from Doctor Griggs, is here. For a second, my fears are ever so slightly abated and I have hope that a medicine for Betty has been found. “What does the doctor say, child?” I ask her. “He bid me tell you, Reverend, that he cannot discover no medicine for it in his books,” she replies, her body slightly contorted as she tries to peer past me. No medicine? This is bad. “Then he must search on.” “Aye, sir But he bid me tell you that you might look to unnatural things for the cause of it.” I feel my eyes grow wide. Unnatural? “No—no. There be no unnatural cause here. Tell him I have sent for Reverend Hale of Beverly, and he will surely confirm that.” “Aye, sir. He bid me tell you.” Susanna turns to go but Abigail interjects, “Susanna, speak nothing of it in the village.” I reiterate and the girl leaves. Abby turns to me. “Uncle, the rumor of witchcraft is all about; I think you'd best go down and deny yourself.” God! What harm these rumors could bring upon my household. But, “What shall I say to them? That my daughter and my niece I discovered dancing like heathen in the forest?” That would do naught but expose those in my care of going against God's word, and my word...naught but a black mark upon my name.

5: “Narrative writing is a detailed story of an event including setting, characters, time sequence, brief plot, and dialogue.”

6: Reflective writing is “describing in detail something significant to the person/perspective writing the piece, how it changed them personally, any lessons they learned and how they will apply it later in life.”

7: Journal # : Reflective After seeing the minute throng of women in the woods--dancing no less!--and recognizing three from my own household, I realize that I am not safe. My reputation lies in the actions of these flesh and blood, my slave...they could ruin me. If it gets out that they were where those heathen beings roam and pay homage to the Devil, and deny all that we civilized people believe, it would mean the end of my job as Reverend. The people of this town require being told the possible consequences of going against God's word. They need to be told of the fiery depths of hell and how close they are all leaning toward it. I have heard of those who do not approve of what I speak of when I am atop the alter, and the faction they wish to seek against me. How dare they? I hold a high standing in this town. I am the one who delivers their message to and from God, and they treat me with disrespect. They insult me by getting up at meeting to shut the door without first gaining my permission. Their children, at least, are good. They walk straight with their arms at their sides, eyes slightly lowered, mouths staying shut unless permitted to speak...they are not but thankful for being allowed to do this. Or perhaps that is merely what I permit myself to see, what I want to believe. However, it is not for the children I preach, for they are not the ones unmindful of obligations toward my ministry. But people do not heed my warnings to watch their steps else the unmerciful jaws of Hell will widen to claim their soiled minds and bodies. They do not listen, do not like the ever present realities of which I speak and would use the actions of the children under my roof as evidence of my inability to instill the fear of God in the town. I must tread carefully. If folks start crying witchcraft I...we have a world of mess on our hands. I pray to God that I am safe.

8: "The primary purpose of persuasive writing is to give an opinion and try to influence the reader's way of thinking with supporting evidence."

9: Journal #4: Persuasive In the time that I have spent as Reverend of Salem, I feel that I have done a commendable job. Sixty-six pound is hardly enough for a man to live off of. The contract I signed upon taking this job provides that I be supplied with all the wood for my fire, and since November I haven't seen so much as a stick. Giles argues that six pounds is allotted for firewood but what sensible man throws away six pound on firewood? Not I, good sir. I am not a farmer with the Bible in one hand, tool in the other, but a Harvard College graduate. I left Barbados, with a thrifty, thriving business, to preach the Lord's word and do His bidding. For this, I get persecuted for my preaching style, I am denied the deed to the house in which I live, and am not even given firewood!! Many a time I am plagued with the thought that the Devil roams here. Because of this, I feel it is my duty as a man of the Lord to warn them of the Devil's advances. It is necessary for them to take note of the fact that if there is not compliance and full obedience of this church it is doomed to burn as Hell is perpetually burning. There are some who do not wish to hear of Hell; that do not wish to hear of house deeds or golden candlesticks and firewood...and they seek a faction against this church. Or, more to the point, they seek a faction against me. I do not understand! I do God's bidding. I put forth good effort to gain the people on my side, as well as God, and still they wish to go against me. But, that aside, I am still rather adamant about gaining what is rightfully mine according to the contract; which is sixty-six pounds and that my firewood is taken care of. Though this should be reason enough, I am a good, educated preacher who deserves what I work for.

10: "In narrative writing, an author has a chance to make his or her mark on the world by relating a story that only he or she can tell. Whether it comes from a personal experience or is one that the writer has imagined, the point of a narrative is to bring one's subject to life. By using sensory details, the five Ws and H (who, what, where, when, why, and how), and basic story structure, any subject can be made exciting." -L. Spencer, A Step-by-Step Guide to Narrative Writing. Rosen, 2005

11: Journal #5: Narrative I sit in the courtroom with Danforth and Hathorne, Hale, John Proctor, Mary Warren, Abigail, the girls and a few others. Proctor brought Mary Warren in to confess to all that she, along with the rest of the girls, have been lying. “You say you never saw no spirits, Mary, were never threatened or afflicted by any manifest of the Devil or the Devil's agents,” Hathorne starts. “No, sir.” Her voice is faint and I could hardly hear her. “And yet, when people accused of witchery confronted you in court, you would faint, saying their spirits came out of their bodies and choked you—” “That was pretense, sir,” Mary interjects. But the evidence was there, I myself having picked up her icy body off the ground numerous times. “But you did turn cold, did you not?” I ask. “She only pretended to faint, Your Excellency. They're all marvelous pretenders.” This comes from John Proctor, who practically dragged Mary into the courtroom in the first place for this confession. Yet if this be the case, “Then can she pretend to faint now?” Hathorne questions. An excellent point! “No one in this room be accused of witchcraft,” I say. “So let her turn herself cold now, since there are no spirits attacking her. Let her pretend now. Let her faint.” I turn to Mary. “Faint!” I yell. “Prove to us how you pretended in the court so many times.” She does naught but stare in apparent shock, mouth gapping as she makes feeble attempts to do as commanded. “I—cannot do it.” “Then you will confess, will you not? It were attacking spirits made you faint!” I say with a passion. If this girl confesses to the lies and is believed by the court, it is as much a mark on my name as the girls dancing in the woods. Surely I felt the chill come over her skin, but I have it be that these girls’ testimonies are false. I cannot have my niece, the most prominent figure in this cleansing of evil in the town of Salem, believed to be false. “Your Excellency, this is a trick to blind the court!” I shout. “Do you not know, Mary Warren, that God damns all liars? Or is it now that you lie?” Danforth questions. “No, sir—I am with God now. I cannot lie no more. I am with God. I am with God!” Mary replies. This will not do.this will not do!

12: Journal #6: Narrative Having left Reverend Hale, I walk into the jail where Danforth, Hathorne, and Cheever sit discussing matters. It is good news I bring them. After three months of pleading on my part, and a session with Reverend Hale, several of the prisoners, including Rebecca Nurse and Martha Corey, seem about ready to confess their crimes and save their lives. About ready to return to God. It is not but a providence. However I must also bear the news that Abigail has not returned home for two nights. She has vanished, and it would appear that Mercy Lewis is gone with her. “I think they be aboard a ship,” I tell them. “My daughter, Betty, tells me how she heard them speaking of ships last week, and tonight I discovered my” I find it hard to continue. My eyes tear up and I press my fingers against them in self-preservation before these men. “My strongbox is broke into,” I finish. Hathorne is astounded. “She have robbed you?” he asks. It hurts all over again. “Thirty-one pound is gone. I am penniless. Penniless!” The tears cannot be held back any longer. I bury my face in my hands and let them come, sobs being pulled from my body. “Mr. Parris, you are a brainless man!” Danforth exclaims. This helps none, except perhaps to help dry my tears. “It does no good to blame me, Excellency. They have gone for they were timorous of staying in Salem any longer. Abigail has close knowledge of the town, and there be a rumor that the neighboring town of Andover talks of rebellion.” “There is no rebellion in Andover!” cries Danforth. “It is but what they say. There be a faction here feeding on that news, and I tell you true, sir, I fear there will be riot here.” In part, I may have seen the error of my ways. I see that some of the condemned are not the evil we accused them of. If they but confess...things might begin to mend before dawn comes. There is little time, but I still hold a small thread of hope for them to avow.

13: “Narrative writing is a detailed story of an event including setting, characters, time sequence, brief plot, and dialogue.”

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  • Title: Why Parris?
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