Featuring close reading questions to help your students analyze carefully chosen challenging non-fiction passages from the writing of Cotton Mather, this resource will be a great addition to any unit on The Crucible, the Puritans, or the Salem Witch Trials.
The passages excerpted in this lesson plan all come from Cotton Mather’s book The Wonders of the Invisible World, published in 1693 and written about the events of the Salem Witch Trials. While the excerpts included in this resource will be challenging to most students, the fascinating glimpse that they give into the Puritan world view is worth the effort. Mather’s descriptions of “the stupendous and prodigious things that are happening among us” will be unlike anything your students have read before.
The passages include “The Author’s Defense” in which Mather introduces his goals in writing the book; “The Trial of Martha Carrier” which is Mather’s account of one of the Salem Witch Trials; and the third is excerpted from “Of Beelzebub and His Plot” in which Mather explores the history of evil and the devil.
Pairings: These passages would be a great addition to a unit on The Crucible by Arthur Miller; they would also be great for a unit on early American or Puritan literature or any unit that deals with magic, the occult, or good and evil such as stories by Edgar Allen Poe, Frankenstein, MacBeth, Paradise Lost,.
Table of Contents
Bellringer Freewrite or Quick Write Prompts
Text of “The Author’s Defense”
Answer Key to Questions on “The Author’s Defense”
Questions on “The Author’s Defense”
Text of “The Trial of Martha Carrier”
Answer Key to Questions on “The Trial of Martha Carrier”
Questions on “The Trial of Martha Carrier”
Excerpt from “Of Beelzebub and His Plot”
Answer Key to Questions on “Of Beelzebub and His Plot”
Questions on “Of Beelzebub and His Plot”
Wrapping Up Activity and Graphic Organizer
You will love this resource because it will challenge your students in a structured way; your students will love the fascinating glimpse into the world of the Salem Witch Trials.