What happened to Ann Putnam?

In The Crucible, Ann Putnam has lost all but one of her children in infancy. Deeply traumatized by her losses, she becomes unhinged, convinced that there are evil forces at work. It isn't very long before other people have jumped on the bandwagon and attributed the loss of Ann's children to witchcraft.

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Ann Putnam is a deeply angry, hurt, and frustrated woman. She's lost all but one of her children in infancy and wants to know why. Rates of infant mortality were shockingly high in those days and would be for many centuries to come. But even so, Ann still feels there's...

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Ann Putnam is a deeply angry, hurt, and frustrated woman. She's lost all but one of her children in infancy and wants to know why. Rates of infant mortality were shockingly high in those days and would be for many centuries to come. But even so, Ann still feels there's something strange going on, something evil that is responsible for taking away so many of her children.

Given the lack of medical knowledge, which could otherwise have provided a perfectly valid explanation for the loss of so many of Ann's children, it's not surprising that she, and many of those around her, become convinced that there are dark, Satanic forces at work. Specifically, Ann is certain that her dead children were the victims of witchcraft. Even more specifically, she's got it into her head that Rebecca Nurse, the midwife, is the one responsible for the deaths of her children.

Ann resents Rebecca—not just for her success in raising children but also for the fact she's perceived as being a political enemy of the Putnams. In pointing the finger at Rebecca, therefore, Ann is not just trying to destroy someone she regards as a witch but is giving her husband the opportunity to buy the Nurses' land at auction once they're out of the way.

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