Study Guide

A Break With Charity What's Up With the Title?

By Ann Rinaldi

What's Up With the Title?

When we look at A Break with Charity, we see tons of charitable people who are super kind (what's up Joseph Putnam), but we also see tons of folks who are pretty mean (we're looking at you, afflicted girls). So this title gives us a hint right off the bat that kindness is going to be super important in this text.

But the idea of breaking charity with someone goes even deeper. You see, to break charity means to betray or harm someone. And there are tons of times when betrayals go down during the Salem witch trials.

Check out Susanna and Johnathan's visit to Mary Warren when she's awaiting trial at Ingersoll's Ordinary. Mary was one of the supposedly possessed girls and now she's decided to tell the judges the truth. And this means that Mary has something to say about the posse of afflicted gals:

"They did break charity with me," she said softly. "So now I break charity with them." (13.19)

Whoa—there's some major betrayal going on here. Basically, Mary feels like the lying girls betrayed her by naming her crush as a witch, so now she wants to betray them right back by getting them in trouble. She doesn't want to be loyal to the pack anymore; she's ready to break free.

Mary isn't the only one in this book who experiences a break with charity. Who else do you think title refers to?

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