Question 23 - Writing Practice Test for the PERT

This is an unfinished draft of a student essay. According to the structure of the writing so far, what should the next paragraph be about?

(1) The Salem Witch Trials were a dark period in American history. (2) In the spring of 1692, a group of young girls began accusing several local women of engaging in witchcraft. (3) Many historians and scholars have questioned the motivation of the girls and wonder why they made these accusations. (4) The theories abound, but some of the more probable reasons would include: fear, misogyny, and a strong belief in the devil.

(5) Puritan settlers lived in constant fear. (6) There was fear of actual dangers, such as the wild forest that came right up to the edge of Salem Village or the strange natives who the settlers still viewed with a wary eye. (7) But there was also fear that stemmed from their faith. (8) Puritans lived a life in constant fear of a wrathful God who was looking to punish for any and all indiscretions. (9) Puritans tried to live a pious life, to be worthy of salvation, but knowing they were already doomed to the fiery pits of hell.

(10) Another possible reason for the witch hysteria comes from the social role of females in Puritan society. (11) Puritans had a deep-seated mistrust and dislike of women and were very prejudiced against them. (12) In a male-dominated society, women had no rights and almost no public voice. (13) As a result, the attention the girls received when they made accusations of witchcraft must have been exciting. (14) People were listening to them and they may have felt more important and valued than they ever had before.

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