Study Guide

A Break With Charity Chapter 16

By Ann Rinaldi

Chapter 16

Another Circle in Salem

  • Mary and Susanna are at the Putnams's, and it actually seems pretty swell. They have a cute five-month-old baby, and Johnathan comes around to visit a lot. Oh—and Joseph and Elizabeth are basically the cutest couple ever. Sure Susanna and Mary miss their parents, but at least they have a comfy home with cool pals.
  • At the Putnams's, Susanna finds out about a neat secret society. Folks come to chat with Joseph and Elizabeth about how they oppose all this witch business, and Joseph and Elizabeth are the leaders of the new gang.
  • So now Susanna has a big question in front of her: should she tell her new buds what she knows about the lying girls? Susanna is too scared, so she votes no. After all, Mary Warren ended up going back to pretending she's possessed because no one believed her.
  • But Susanna feels super bad about not telling Joseph since he makes her swear to be honest, and in turn, he tells Susanna and Mary about the emergency plans. They'll all run away at night. And Susanna and Mary need to learn to shoot a gun—things just got real.
  • When Johnathan arrives at the Putnam house, the group chats about the so-called witches; a sea captain that Joseph knows has been accused.
  • There's other political news afoot too. There's a new charter from England (this is basically a rule book on what the folks in the colonies can and can't control), and a new governor, too: a dude named William Phips.
  • The new charter has one major change: Salem doesn't have to elect a Puritan to be the representative at the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony. This means someone like Susanna's father, who goes to an Episcopalian church, could be elected. Now that's a huge shift.
  • But things are less awesome with the new governor—apparently Phips is on the superstitious side. Sadly, this means he believes all the witch nonsense, and he's set up a court (and given it a fancy shmancy name: the Court of Oyer and Terminer) to hear cases and figure out who's really fiddling with the dark arts.
  • That night Joseph has some news for Susanna and Mary—half happy and half sad.
  • The sad half: all the prisoners are now being chained up. Ugh, that means Mama E is in chains, which is horrible.
  • The happy half: Papa English is coming back to Salem, so they'll get to see him soon. Plus he's going to take Mama E and Mary to Boston. And so far the plan is working: Susanna's mom and dad only need to go to the Boston jail at night.

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