Analyzing the Text
It provides historical and cultural background for the events of 1692. In particular, it discusses their intensely repressive and pious society, as well as the deep-seated disagreements and even hatred between neighbors that eventually bubbled over into accusations of outright witchcraft.
In a conversation without any of the adults around, the girls are revealed to be frightened and secretive about what they asked Tituba to do. They made a big mistake and aren’t quite sure how to talk their way out of it.
Putnam holds numerous grudges because he feels that, as a wealthy man, his opinion should have more weight than others’. Therefore, he resents those who challenge his authority and seeks to ruin their lives. Parris is convinced that everyone else is out to get him and, additionally, doesn’t know how to handle children – so he is especially ill-equipped to deal with this scenario.
He isn’t as religious as most of the others in Salem and so feels that he doesn’t fit in. Additionally, his relationship with Abigail makes him feel very guilty.