By Rosemary K. Coffey
Via rigorously chosen stories, this article is helping scholars establish with the struggles and triumphs of children construction a sod apartment at the Nebraska prairie, following the North celebrity with a daring band of escaped slaves, or traveling in steering from rural Russia to city the United States.
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Additional info for America as story: historical fiction for middle and secondary schools
Comment This story is full of information on living as newcomers to the American wilderness learned to do. The kinds of responsibilities which young people in colonial America were expected to assume are shown in the task which Matt's father leaves with him. Attean's communication of Indian ideas (sharing the land, killing game only for food, respecting others, carefully using the gifts of the forest) and his comments on the white settlers' killing his parents afford today's readers an opportunity to consider the European use of land from an Indian point of view.
The villagers believe that the girls are possessed by the devil and that the devil must have helpers. Tituba and two other women are arrested as witches, and as the fits continue many other persons are accused. Those who, under lengthy questioning, confess that they are witches are exonerated, but before the madness ends, twenty people are put to death.
There is a forceful picture of the zealous Reverend Mather. Readers will empathize with a young woman who is trying to find a place for herself, questioning her own English-Christian civilization for its ideas about Indians, slaves, and religious practices. Suggestions for Reports or Activities 1. Who was Cotton Mather? What were his contributions to the cultural and religious life of his time? What can you find out about his interests in science and medicine? 2. Mercy states that some of the colonists who were captured by the Indians came to prefer Indian life to their own.