What grudges does Thomas Putnam have against Francis Nurse, and what would be a quote explaining Putnam's grudge?  Please describe the grudge, too.

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Thomas Putnam's grudge can best be seen in Act I during some of Miller's background delivery of information. We see this in the words:

Thomas Putnam's man for the Salem ministry was Bayley. The Nurse clan had been in the faction that prevented Bayley's taking office.

To help you understand this quote, you need to know a little more background. Putnam was Bayley's brother-in-law by marriage. Putnam was trying to get a buddy of his in a religious office which would have given Putnam clout in the church. The Nurses saw right through this and worked to ensure that a man put into a ministry position would have no certain allegiance to any person, but to God.

This is the 3rd to the last prose section of Act I. Further reading of your own text will give a little more insight.


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favoritethings | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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A reason that Mr. Putnam seems to hold a grudge against the Nurse family is one that he shares with his wife.  Rebecca Nurse has chastised Mrs. Putnam for "seeking loose spirits" and sending her daughter to Tituba to conjure the spirits of Mrs. Putnam's seven dead babies.  Now, she encourages Reverend Parris to send Mr. Hale back home when he arrives and just rely on "good prayer" to help the ailing Betty Parris and Ruth Putnam.  Rebecca says that they should "go to God for the cause of" their troubles and "blame [them]selves" instead.  At these words, Mr. Putnam quickly angers, saying,

How may we blame ourselves?  I am one of nine sons; the Putnam seed have peopled this province.  And yet I have but one child left of eight -- and now she shrivels!

The Putnams see their terrible luck as a sign that the Devil is at work in Salem.  To be sure, it would be incredibly painful and frustrating to lose so many children, especially when the Nurses have "never los[t] a child, nor grandchild neither" and they have buried all but one.  The terrible injustice of the Putnams' losses have encouraged their grudge against and suspicion of the Nurses.

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