HOW SUPERNATURAL POWERS SHAPED THE PURITANS’ BELIEFS 1
HowSupernatural Powers shaped the Puritans’ Beliefs
The three primary sources The Arrival of a Comet and the Death ofa Star Preacher, The Death of a Cotton Mather’s Infant Son, StrangeAfflictions in the Goodwin Household reveal how the supernaturalinfluenced the Puritan’s beliefs and practices. More importantly,the three sources illustrate how the Puritans believed that thesupernatural caused the strange events that occurred in theircommunity. However, they knew that prayers would help in counteringthose weird events. Later, they even associated witches with theactivities, and they started suing and hanging them since they wereguilty of causing harm to other people. All in all, the primarysources reveal the real picture at that specific time and how thePuritans felt about the witchcraft that used the supernatural powersto harm others. In fact, this analysis will reveal how the primarysources help one in clarifying how the witches used the supernaturalpowers to torment the Puritans, and how Salem responded by hangingthem.
The Arrival of a Comet and the Death of a Star Preacherpresents an account of the supernatural powers in Salem. Moreimportantly, it reveals how the falling of a comet led to the deathof a reverend. In this case, the scenario showed that the people ofSalem believed that the falling comet was the main reason for thepreacher’s death1.In fact, they looked at the supernatural world as the one thatinfluenced some of the common practices in the society. For instance,birth, death, accidents and other practices were associated with theevil spirits. They even believed that things did not occur as onemight expect but, the supernatural world had a hand in everything2.The belief had even erased the will of God on any occurrence in thesociety. The falling comet was one of the signs that the supernaturalinteracted with the living world. The people of Salem believed thatthe comet predicted the death of the Reverend and the beings alsoinfluenced other activities. The primary source does not present thetheme of the supernatural powers effectively as expected. Forinstance, it does not highlight the connection directly, and thereader has to determine what the reading addresses. From theunderstanding, it is evident that the author was connecting the twoevents to justify the beliefs of the people of Salem. However, evenif the primary source is too short it still reveals the message thatthe supernatural powers having an impact on the living world.
The Death of a Cotton Mather’s Infant Son also reveals thebeliefs that the people of Salem about the supernatural powers. Theprimary source presents a detailed description of the strangeactivities of an infant that had spent some days. The child’sbowels were blocked, and they believed that the act was a result ofthe evil spirits since they had never seen something of that sort3.The fact that the child’s bowel was membranous and closed showedsome weird events in the society that questioned the present of thesupreme beings and how the supernatural world interacted with humans.The infant’s father insists that he “had great reason to suspecta witchcraft in this preternatural accident.”4His tone even showed that he might want to avenge the death since theentire scenario pained him. The document helps in presenting thebeliefs of the people of Salem. In fact, it shows the way that thepeople did not believe that God could influence anything. Instead,they knew that the supernatural caused even the diseases that thechildren were experiencing. It also mentions the witches as peoplethat used the powers in harming other individuals in the society.Based on the tone of the author that had lost a son, it is clear thatthey hate the witches that use the evil spirits to hurt others.Hence, the primary source helps in connecting the supernatural worldto the witchcraft and how they interact with the living world too.More importantly, it introduces the reader to the Salem world andpresents how things work. The interaction of the supernatural worldand the living world is illustrated using clear examples that guidein understanding the scenario as well.
The Strange Afflictions in the Goodwin Household reveals howthe home experienced some weird events that saw the daughters havingconvulsions. In fact, some of them even cried with their eyes, tongueand teeth out as they screamed in pain5.The scenario was total chaos, and the author captures every detail toillustrate how the victims felt at that particular time. It alsoshows how the Puritans met and prayed so as to counter and defeat theevil spirits that had attacked the young girls6.However, the source explains how Goodwin accuses one of the neighborsas the witch that had launched the evil spirits on his daughters. Inthis case, he even involves the local government that hangs thesuspect. More importantly, the source captures the interaction of thesupernatural beings with the living world since the evil spirits evenattacked the girls. The Puritans still believe that prayers will savethem from the entire scenario since God was more powerful than theevil spirits. Despite the power of the prayers over the evil spirits,they still wanted to destroy the witches since they did not want themto harm other individuals too. Hence, most of the witches in Salemhad to face death by hanging7.The article shows the connection between the supernatural powers andthe prayers and how the government also hated the witches. In thiscase, the author describes every detail that the girls manifestedafter they were possessed by the evil spirits. Besides that, theauthor also captures how members of the society believed that prayerswould have saved them from the entire experience. All in all, theprimary source helps in showing the hatred that the Puritans had, andhow they wanted to destroy them totally because of their evilpractices.
In conclusion, the three primary sources capture the life and beliefsin Salem. More importantly, they reveal that the Puritans weretotally against the evil spirits since they created more harm. Infact, they associated every bad event with the supernatural, and theybelieved that the witches helped them in interacting with the humanbeings. The three sources show how the Puritans responded withhostility when they discovered that the witches were the ones thatled to the diseases and the convulsions that the Puritansexperienced. In this case, the sources insist that the Puritansdecided to retaliate and hang some of the people that were accused ofwitchcraft in Salem.
StrangeAfflictions in the Goodwin Household
The Arrival of aComet and the Death of a Star Preacher
The Death of aCotton Mather’s Infant Son
1 “The Arrival of a Comet and the Death of a Star Preacher” p. 39
2 Ibid, p. 39
3 “The Death of a Cotton Mather’s Infant Son.” p. 40
4 Ibid. p.40
5 “Strange Afflictions in the Goodwin Household.” p. 41
6 Ibid, p. 41
7 Ibid, p. 41