Study Guide

A Break With Charity Books

By Ann Rinaldi

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Shmooopers, beware: reading is dangerous. Or at least that's what the folks in Salem think. When it comes to books, the Puritans run a tight ship—you're allowed to read the Bible, and maybe some religiousy stuff like sermons, but steer clear of the library folks, because those other books are strictly off-limits.

And if there's one book that's really off-limits, it's the Devil's book. You see, one of the accusations the afflicted girls make is that so-called witches have signed their name in the Devil's book, which is pretty serious stuff. But things get even stranger when Mary Warren tells Susanna that one of her old chums claims to have signed the evil dude's book herself:

"Abigail Hobbs?" I could not believe it.

"Oh yes. She's confessed to being a witch. And she's glad of it, too. Never have I seen one so glad. She came prancing up here this morning to see me. She was downstairs telling the patrons that she signed the Devil's book." (13.22-23)

Yep, Abigail Hobbs says she's got an in with the Devil and she likes it. Here's the skinny on Abigail: she likes to be a wee bit dangerous. Okay… more like being seriously super dangerous. And saying that she signed the Devil's book is just about as dangerous as it gets.

All this chatter lets us know that reading books is some risky business. What else do you think books are related to in A Break with Charity?

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