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Comparing McCarthyism and the Witch Trials in The Crucible

In the 1950s, the Red Scare over Communist infiltration grasped America, turning friends against one another and prompting Communist accusations left and right. If accused, you could confess to Communism and accuse others, or face indictment yourself. This concept is quite similar to the Salem witch trials, in which accused witches were put in the same predicament. Written during the Red Scare, Arthur Miller produced a play called The Crucible, which uses the Salem witch trials as an allegory for the Communist hysteria. In this play, rumors of witchcraft stemmed from the boredom of a few teenage girls, and blossomed into an unprecedented hysteria. Accusations became widespread, and, since confession was the only way to avoid a hanging, confessions became widespread as well. When only a small group of stubborn resisters were left, the main character John Proctor had to make a difficult decision on whether he should confess or hang, and ends up hanging along with a few others to help save the integrity of their community. In his play The Crucible, Arthur Miller demonstrates that while some may view self-sacrifice as a pointless loss due to pride, the decision to sacrifice one’s life for the good of his community and the elimination of conformist attitudes is very noble. The enormity of this decision can instill a feeling of guilt and responsibility upon another, as occurs to the protagonist John Proctor, and can cause one’s views and actions to be altered.

One view towards the issue of self-sacrifice is that it is a pointless waste of life due to pride. As the date of Proctor’s hanging approaches, he is encouraged by Parris, Danforth and even Reverend Hale to confess to witchcraft, which would thus validate the hanging of the rema…

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…e as simply a waste, however if it is done to help rid one’s community of conformity and hysteria, it is a noble act. Through the enormity of this act, others can be effected, and both their consciences and their actions can be affected. In the McCarthyism era, otherwise known as the Red Scare, it was also necessary for people to put themselves on the line in order to limit the scope of the hysteria and help it to settle down. Even if it meant risking their jobs and reputations, the resistance of these people, including Arthur Miller himself, was a necessary step in calming the hysteria. No matter what type of sacrifice you give, whether it be your reputation, your livelihood, your life, or something a little less drastic, putting your community before yourself is a noble action and without people to carry out this philosophy, hysterias would never come to an end.

Blasphemies and Discrimination in The Chrysalids

John Wyrndham the author of The Chrysalids is an extraordinary writer who has created this book in the state of two totally different worlds. Wyrndham has based this book on the different views toward blasphemies and how the characters all have a different approach on the subject. The three greatest ranges in different reactions to Blasphemes would come from the characters: Joseph Strorm, Aunt Harriet, and Sophie Wender.

Joseph Strorm is the character in the novel that has the greatest disliking toward Blasphemies. Joseph is the father of David Strorm. He is a strong believer in God and his life is based around his religion: “The Norm is the Image of God.” (p.27) In the book the reader gets the idea that Joseph is not a very good father and is very strict: “I’ll deal with this. The boy’s is lying. Go to your room.” (p.51) He is a cruel and inhumane person to anyone who has or is involved with a deviation. The reader would see this attitude when Aunt Harriet visits the Strorms and brings her deviant child with her: “Send her away. Tell her to leave the house – and take that with her.” (p.71) Joseph did not show any sympathy at all toward his own sister in law.

Aunt Harriet is the sister of David’s mother Mrs. Strorm. She enters the story half way through the book, where she goes to Mrs. Strorm seeking help. Yet the help she is looking for is not something Mrs. Strorm agrees with: “Nothing much! You have the effrontery to bring your monster into my house, and tell me it’s nothing much!” (p.70) Aunt Harriet is very loving, strong, and she fights for what she thinks is the right thing: “I shall pray God to send into this hideous world, and sympathy for the weak, and love for the unhappy and unfortunate.” (p.73) Aunt Harriet is also the proof of what happens to people who have a deviation or are trying to protect someone with a deviation: “Aunt Harriet’s body has been found in a river, no one mentioned a baby….” (p.74) She is a very will hearted woman who is one of the very few people in this time that has the will to speak her mind.

Sophie Wender is also another female fighter in this book. David and Sophie are close childhood friends when she is separated from the community because she has a sixth toe.

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