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The Witch Trials that took place in the later half of the seventeenth century provide a clear model of the universal and timeless processes by which groups of people instigate justify and escalate persecution Although this tragedy has been historically associated with the oppression and persecution of women by men it is critical to note the often overlooked role of traditional women as enablers in societys persecution of the unconventional women Many women who were not persecuted during the Witch Trials actually perpetuated them either through accusations directed at other women or simply through tolerance of the events Likewise the women in Grenvilles novel The Test Is If They Drown adopt the role of enablers by either escalating or simply condoning the malice inflicted upon those women deemed nonconformists These enablers act to reinforce and encourage male suppression of womens rights by conforming to the ideals of society and ostracizing those who do no t The following paper analyzes the two types of female enablers the active and the passive in the novel and their significance in relation to the continuation of the suppression of womens independence Defined briefly an active enabler is someone who through their actions or words promotes the suppression of others This form of encouragement to the oppressor allows the suppression to continue indefinitely An example of an active enabler during the Salem Witch Trials is Ann Putnam who frequently called out the names of supposed witches She was particularly active in accusing Rebecca Nurse the seventy-year-old church member who was hung on July 191962 Hill The Salem Witch Trials Reader 108 Just as Ann Putnam actively perpetuated the persecution of women deemed nonconformist in the late 1600s Pam and Sonia actively perpetuate the persecution of women in their own society who fall outside of the conventional mold forced upon them by men Almost as if mimicking Ann Putmans behavior from hundreds of years before Sonia declares Ms Spear a silly
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