The Devil In The Shape Of A Woman Summary

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This book describes the history and many thoughts and practices that went towards accusing and convicting women of witchcraft. Within the bindings of the book, readers learn the economic, social, religious, and demographic statistics of why these women who were part of the witch trials were accused and sometimes convicted of practicing witchcraft between 1620 and 1725. As readers delve deeper into the writing of Karlsen they learn more about how her research of what witchcraft meant to New Englanders and why most witches during this time period seemed to be women. The Devil in the Shape of a Woman can easily be broken down into three sections, the first section consisting of chapters 1-3. In these chapters Karlsen deals with the world of New England witchcraft and the beliefs the settlers had when it came to identifying witches within their community. These first few chapters examine the beliefs and religious ideals the settlers had that helped shaped their views of witchcraft. Section number two can be seen in the written words of chapters 4-6, these chapters deal in examining the characteristics and individual cases of the accused witches…show more content…
This final section leaves readers with chapter 7, and in this chapter Karlsen deals with interpreting the characteristics of witches within the gender system of Colonial New England. In doing so Karlsen breaks down the beliefs Puritan’s already had about women in general in their society. At one point Karlsen quotes Socrates’ saying that “Women are a necessary evil” which is how the Puritans viewed the women in their society because of how Eve had failed God, gave into Satan’s temptation, and lead Adam to follow in her footsteps thus leading to the overall downfall of

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