Study Guide

A Break With Charity Compassion and Forgiveness

By Ann Rinaldi

Compassion and Forgiveness

Here's the truth about the Salem witch trials: they make this town go a wee bit bonkers. Okay okay, the town goes majorly bonkers. Once folks start accusing one another of being witches, it seems like kindness has flown out the window. But even with all the mayhem in Salem, there's actually tons of compassion in A Break with Charity,too. So when Mama English gets locked up for being a witch, she becomes a helpful friend to all the other prisoners, and when it comes time for Susanna to show forgiveness to her neighbors, she's better at it than she expected. All the bad stuff going down in Salem ends up reminding us that there's a lot of good in the world too, and against all odds, we find ourselves feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

Questions About Compassion and Forgiveness

  1. How is forgiveness a strength in this book? Are there ways in which it is a sign of weakness?
  2. Which characters show the most compassion? What do you think makes them so compassionate? And what keeps the others from showing kindness?
  3. How do family relationships affect kindness and forgiveness?

Chew on This

Compassion is hard to come by, and that's a bad thing. Some characters in this book are pure evil and never learn to show kindness.

In the end, everyone in this book has the capacity to be kind, and that's a great thing. It just takes a little longer for some folks to show it.