Life in early New England was harsh for its settlers: food was scarce, the weather was challenging, and people struggled to make ends meet. The Puritan austerity was expressed via the spare look of clothing and home furnishings. The focus in everyday life was on basic survival and religious piety. But struggles for social hierarchy and dominance still occurred, and led to clashes of ego among community members. The drabness of everyday life in Salem Village helped to create an atmosphere of frustration and boredom, and coupled with the struggles for social dominance this atmosphere helped lead to the volatile situation with the witchcraft accusations.