Experience the Hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials With the Graphic Novel “Lies in the Dust”
Jakob Crane’s thrilling graphic novel Lies in the Dust: A Tale of Remorse From the Salem Witch Trials allows readers to get inside the head of Ann Putnam, who was one of the young girls believed to be tortured by the “witches” of Salem. Along with her other cronies, Ann pointed a finger at many of her neighbors, and her testimony led to their deaths. However, as an adult, her actions haunted her, and she wrote a letter of apology 14 years after the Trials took place.
Crane explores in full detail the powerful effect that words can have on a community. With one simple whisper, an errant piece of gossip can lead to the death of an innocent person, although the author makes sure to show his readers that the Puritans had a different notion of guilt and innocence than we do now. He also explores the role Ann’s parents played in her testimonials as well. Her parents also have blood on their hands since they gleefully gobbled up the land of the accused. Crane’s story shows how a dysfunctional family can wrap a troubled teenager for life and how their actions could potentially harm the community around them.
Crane’s riveting words are highlighted by Thomas Decker’s sparse yet beautiful art. Even though the illustrations are only in black-and-white, it fits with Ann’s sense of dread and overpowering guilt.
Lies in the Dust is not only a powerful novel, but it also proves that sometimes words are our greatest weapons.