Reading guide for The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

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The Heretic's Daughter

A Novel

By Kathleen Kent

The Heretic's Daughter

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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. How was Sarah changed by living with her cousin Margaret? How was she changed by returning to her family?

  2. What was it about Martha's character that seemed to antagonize so many neighbors?

  3. What do you think was the most compelling reason that Martha was eventually brought to trial?

  4. Discuss the various factors that lead to the witch hysteria.

  5. Why did Martha choose to take a stand of innocence knowing that a refused confession meant death?

  6. Why did Thomas, despite his size and capabilities, not seek to persuade or deter Martha from her course of action?

  7. Why did the community of Salem, and the magistrates, so easily believe in and rely on "spectral evidence"?

  8. How has reading the book changed your opinions about the men and women hanged as witches?

  9. Are there modern day "witches"?

  10. Can we, or should we, redefine the meaning of the word "witch"?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Back Bay Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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