Why is Mrs. Putnam so very bitter in The Crucible?

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price7781 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ann Putnam is a bitter, old woman because over the course of her life, she has lost seven babies to illness.  This has affected Mrs. Putnam's mental health.  She only has one daughter, Ruth, who, unfortunately, seems to have fallen victim to the witchcraft scare haunting Salem.  She especially blames Goody Nurse who is the midwife of the community because Goody Nurse has not had any children die.  Ann Putnam is jealous of Rebecca Nurse and instantly uses her as a scapegoat to explain why she has lost so many children.  It is easier for Ann Putnam to put blame on someone or something else than to take responsibility for the deaths.  In this case, she blames Goody Nurse, witchcraft, and the devil for her misfortune.  

Family was very important to the Puritan community.  Not only did they need children to carry on their religious practices, they also needed children to work the fields and build up the community.  It is a hard blow to Ann Putnam who feels it is her duty to provide her family with descendants.  The mortality rate was very high during this time, and not much was known about medicine.  Ann Putnam fell victim to superstition to explain her bad luck.  It was this sad situation that made it hard for her to overcome her bitterness and jealousy.