Book Info: The Sacrifice

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Age group: 8-13

Jacket illustration: © 2005 Kamil Vojnar.

Genre: Historical Ficction

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the sacrifice
Discussions and Activities:

The Sacrifice

Social Studies

  1. What beliefs of Puritan life in 1692 do you believe we still hold on to today?
  2. How was Abigail’s relationship with her mother and father the same as children’s today and how was it different?
  3. Do you believe Abigail’s mother asking her to lie was right or wrong? Why?
  4. In a similar circumstance, do you believe you would have lied as Abigail did to protect yourself?
  5. Abigail’s world was one where conformity to the group was important – and yet she wanted to be an individual. Do you think this is still true today? Why or why not?
  6. What situations in today’s world reflect a lack of reason and a “mob mentality”? (e.g. riots after a sporting event) What would you do if faced with this situation?

History

  1. What similarities or differences do we have today from Abigail’s world of 1692 in the following:
    1. Trials and Evidence
    2. Jail Conditions
    3. Every day Life
    4. Religion
  2. Can you think of another situation either now or in the past, where fear has overcome reason? (e.g. the McCarthy era) What were the consequences of this?

Language Arts

  1. Define the following words in the novel:
    a.
    b.
    c.
    d.
    e.
    f.
    g.
    h.
    i.
    j.
    k.
    l.
    bodice
    stocks
    night watch
    meetinghouse
    stouthearted
    looking glass
    morrow
    tarry
    tithing man
    loom
    whittled
    rouse
    m.
    n.
    o.
    p.
    q.
    r.
    s.
    t.
    u.
    v.
    w.
    x.
    naught
    elders
    wager
    sport
    livestock
    homespun
    bedcurtains
    flax
    shorn
    churning
    afflicted
    magistrate
    y.
    z.
    1.
    2.
    3.
    4.
    5.
    6.
    7.
    8.
    9.
    10.
    breeches
    insolence
    tarry
    consorting
    amiss
    rancid
    underbed
    unduly
    anvil
    whence
    plaiting
    fallow
    11.
    12.
    13.
    14.
    15.
    16.
    17.
    18.
    19.
    20.
    21.
    22.
    impertinence
    keep
    rough-hewn
    lousy
    haggard
    goodly
    stench
    fortnight
    grub
    plagued
    pauper
    nay
  2. Characterization is a critical component to any good story. Can you list personality traits of the characters in the book that help define them? How is Abigail different from her sisters and brothers? How is she different from Mama? From Papa?

The Arts

  1. Dancing was forbidden in Puritan society, and there was little time for art or music. How do you think the lack of these arts affected the people of that time?
  2. If you had lived during that time, what entertainment might you have substituted or how might you have expressed yourself artistically to make up for the lack of theater, museums, TV, computer, movies etc.

Science

  1. Spectral evidence or “unseen” evidence was permissible during Puritan times. How would you, if you were on trial, scientifically prove that spectral evidence was unreal?
  2. Witchcraft was often the answer to unexplained scientific phenomena. Can you think of any examples where we have since found a scientific answer for events they may have attributed to “acts of the devil” in the past. (One example is weather)