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What character traits does Ann Putnam reveal by saying, "Tituba knows how to speak to...

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lisistaan | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 8, 2012 at 11:59 AM via web

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What character traits does Ann Putnam reveal by saying, "Tituba knows how to speak to the dead, Mr. Parris." ?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 8, 2012 at 7:01 PM (Answer #1)

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Ann's statement reflects a few elements about her character.  The first is that she is definitely not in full possession of her capacities in how she understands the loss of her children.  The death of her children has significantly destabilized her from an emotional and psychological point of view, so much so that she would go to Tituba and ask her to communicate with the dead.  Ann is not entirely grounded and this statement helps to reveal this.  Another trait that is connected to this is that Ann, herself, is quite vengeful and filled with wrath over what was done to her children.  Her desire to find out what happened to them is driven by a need of finding someone to blame for their deaths.  Ann is committed to this end, again reflected in how she gets Tituba with the dead in order to feed this end.  It is this particular trait that enables her to benefit from an emotional point of view from the Witchcraft Trials, as others will feel the same helplessness and similar emotional pain that she endures.  In this, there is some level of justice in her own mind.  Ann's character traits help to illuminate one of Miller's fundamental fears in that those who rise to the position of power will wield it in accordance to their own psychological conditions and subjective notions of the good, as opposed to the tenets of communal harmony and social fairness.


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