Study Guide

A Break With Charity Chapter 12

By Ann Rinaldi

Chapter 12

Mama Takes a Stand

  • It's March now and Susanna is just getting over her illness.
  • When her sister, Mary, comes home from market, she's got some bad news: Two more Salem neighbors have been accused of being witches—Rebecca Nurse and Martha Cory.
  • We get a few details on the newest victims. Rebecca is seventy-one and basically the sweetest little old lady around, and Martha is a chatty gal who doesn't believe in the witch nonsense. These two definitely aren't witches, obviously.
  • In town, Mary also bumped into Johnathan. But this time Susanna isn't blushing over this cutie—she's still mad that he's into the whole witchcraft thing, and we can't blame her.
  • Fast forward to April. Johnathan visits Susanna and this time he's put on his sensible pants. He says that this witch business is totally ridiculous—once sweet Rebecca Nurse was accused, Johnathan hopped off the witch bandwagon. Wahoo.
  • So the good news is that Johnathan has come to his senses, but the bad news is that the witch craze is growing. The afflicted girls have accused Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch. Her hubby, John, stood up for her, but the magistrates don't care a fig for reason these days. And now John Indian is pretending to be tormented too. Things are definitely getting out of control.
  • Johnathan also tells Susanna that Joseph Putnam is basically the best guy in the world; Joe has threatened Ann Sr. to stay away from his family, so fingers crossed that works.
  • All this sharing has Johnathan and Susanna feeling pretty chummy. Sure Susanna isn't totally sure she can trust his change of heart, but she figures it's time for a leap of faith.
  • Since things are starting to look up for Susanna, you can bet that something bad is about to happen. And that's when Mama English comes home with Mary. She says that at Meeting everyone shunned a lady named Sarah Cloyce.
  • Sarah is Rebecca Nurse's sister, so she's super sad these days. Mama is a pretty nice person, so she sits with Sarah to comfort her. And now the whole town hates Mrs. English and is calling her a "friend of witches."
  • When Mr. E comes into the room, he says he's super proud of his wife—she's pretty much the bravest woman ever.
  • The next day, there are three new victims: Sarah Cloyce, John Proctor, and Dorcas Good. Yep, the tormented girls even accused a five year old.
  • One day, Johnathan arrives with news of some new drama brewing. One of the afflicted girls, Mary Warren (servant to the Proctors), has said that she lied about being attacked by witches. This might not seem like much, but Mr. English says this is a good sign.
  • Unsurprisingly, Susanna plans to visit Mary.

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