Asking Pardon of Men: Samuel Sewall and Responsibility45 min
As you read, imagine you are the protagonist.
- What challenges are you facing?
- What fears or concerns might you have?
- What may prevent you from acting as you should?
- Who is Samuel Sewall? What was Sewall’s role in the Salem Witch Trials? How did this role affect his identity during and after the trials?
- Based on Sewall’s role at the trials, what was his purpose in life? Did he live up to that purpose?
- What was Sewall’s purpose in his speech to the congregation? How did this change his identity?
Discuss the following questions with your students.
- What is the historical context of the narrative?
- What historical circumstances presented a challenge to the protagonist?
- How and why did the individual exhibit a moral and/or civic virtue in facing and overcoming the challenge?
- How did the exercise of the virtue benefit civil society and Samuel Sewall?
- What might the exercise of the virtue cost him?
- Would you react the same under similar circumstances? Why or why not?
- How can you act similarly in your own life? What obstacles must you overcome in order to do so?
- Students will analyze Samuel Sewall’s experiences of acting responsibly.
- Students will understand the importance of acting with responsibility in their own lives.