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The Crucible as Allegory

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Presentation on theme: "The Crucible as Allegory"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Crucible as Allegory
Encountering Conflict

2 What is an Allegory? Allegory: a story that is used to represent specific ideas or principles. Similar to an extended metaphor. The Crucible is written as an allegory to comment on what was happening in 1950s America under McCarthyism – it is not a direct representation, but shows many similarities. This means that The Crucible is allegorical. Another term is Analogy It is not an Allergy.

3 The Crucible and McCarthyism
In writing The Crucible, Arthur Miller wanted to point out to the world the parallel between the unjust Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and fear of Communism that was at it’s height during the 1950s. He wanted to make a powerful statement about the dangers of hysteria and the dehumanization that can result.

4 McCarthyism McCarthyism: is the term used to describe the approach that was taken in the 1950s to protect America from the threat of Communist infiltration. Communism: A system of government where the state owns and controls the economy through a central government. There is no private ownership and goods and property are shared. Anti-Communist feelings arose dramatically at the end of the 1940s and into the 1950s, after World War II, due to the growth of Communism from the USSR to Eastern Europe. The Atomic Bomb and development of nuclear weaponry also added to people’s fear of Communists.

5 The Rise of Anti-Communism
The Communist influence was increasing in the US and both citizens and government wanted it addressed. In 1947 President Truman put the Truman Loyalty Oath into action, under public pressure, where government employees had to sign their loyalty to the government. Set up loyalty review boards to investigate government employees. (3.2 Million employees investigated) Therefore, anyone who wanted to bring about change, such as advocates of Civil Rights, Women’s Rights etc, could be classified as communist! In addition propaganda and media hysteria fueled this fear of Communists (1947- Year of Division, He may be a Communist, Fallout Shelter, Kids and Nukes)

6 HUAC - 1947 House of Unamerican Activities Commission
Set up to investigate communist organisations in America. Specifically investigated Hollywood filmmakers suspected of promoting Communist ideas. Blacklisted approximately 300 writers, actors and producers.

7 Joseph McCarthy A U.S. Senator 1947 – 1957
Relatively obscure until 1950 when he made his famous “Wheeling Speech” (in Wheeling, West Virginia) to the Republican Women’s club stating: “I have here in my hand a list of 205 — a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.“

8 McCarthyism is born Though this speech was investigated and found to be unsubstantiated, the public reaction was huge (as seen in the town of Salem with the talk of witchcraft) McCarthy became the public face of Anti- Communism, soon called “McCarthyism” (McCarthy is similar to Judge Danforth). He claimed there were many Communists, Soviet spies and sympathizers inside federal government departments He headed a committee that conducted hearings for accused Communists However, he had little evidence to back up his claims (as with the witches)

9 Who did he accuse? No one was safe from accusation but certain people were targets: Over 300 actors, authors and directors known as the Hollywood blacklist (including Arthur Miller) – why? Certain politicians, state department, army, union leaders Civil Rights, Gay rights and women’s rights activists Artists, rock and roll bands, teenagers, the Girl Scouts and many more

10 What happened to them: People who refused to cooperate with questioning were blacklisted. Blacklisting meant that their professional reputation was ruined and no one would hire them in case they too were accused. Suspected communists were asked to confess and identify other “Red” sympathisers. Many people tried to save themselves through false confessions This created the idea that America was overrun with communists and increased the hysteria.

11 Propaganda McCarthy inspired a culture of fear, where people were encouraged to spy on and report their neighbours

12 The end of McCarthy McCarthy’s influence can to an end quite suddenly when his accusations went too far. In 1953, he began claiming the Army was being infiltrated by Communists and began investigating them. At this President Eisenhower intervened. McCarthy’s hearings were televised and people saw how unfair the trials were and that he was aggressive and a bully. Edward R Murrows publically criticised McCarthy in on television for abusing American’s rights In 1954 he was publically reprimanded for abusing and insulting the senate during proceedings and was voted from his position of power.

13 Other Witch Hunts to consider
McCarthyism came to be known as a witch hunt. This can be explained as a hysterical search for people who stand for ideas that are not mainstream, usually out of fear or moral panic, often without concrete evidence or fair trials. It is worth considering other “witch-hunts” in history to use in your writing.

14 Other Witch Hunts The 21st Century Witch hunt: War on Terror
Attitudes to Muslims changed drastically throughout the world after September 11, 2001, the Bali Bombings of and the London Suicide Bombings of 2005 Fear and prejudice for anyone who was different became much more widespread. Anti-Terrorism laws were established throughout the western world these allowed for the detaining and deporting of immigrants suspected (but not convicted) of terrorism, invasions of privacy and surveillance of individuals People were held without trial for extended periods (Guantanamo Bay) More recently: Mosque at Ground Zero and this blog

15 Other Witch Hunts Things you could research:
Controversy over the Patriot Act in the USA (The documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore would be of interest) Australian Terror Laws, “Be alert not alarmed”, National Security Hotline Unlawful detainment in Guantanamo Bay David Hicks Treatment of prisoners in Abu Grahib The shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in the London underground, 2005 The Cronulla Riots Children Overboard Ousting of K. Rudd?

16 Other Witch Hunts Can you see similarities between The Crucible and:
The activities of the Ku Klux Klan The Scottsboro Trials in the 1930s (think To Kill a Mockingbird) Internment of Japanese Australians/Americans during WWII Targeting of Gays and Lesbians in the 20th Century False accusations of child molestation in 1980s US ( Real witch hunts in modern day Africa and India And, of course, targeting Jews under Hitler

17 Expository or Persuasive Planning
If you are planning on writing in these styles, create a table as outlined below to consider the aspects of conflict that are dealt with in The Crucible. Create separate tables for: Causes of Conflict, types of conflict, consequences/impact of conflict, how people respond to conflict, resolving conflict. Be as detailed as you can as this will help you broaden your ideas for your writing. CAUSES OF CONFLICT Cause The Crucible McCarthyism Other historical or current events Personal Experiences e.g. Personal agendas Abigail has lost Proctor Putnam has lost status McCarthy was not very influential, wanted attention Children overboard: Howard used it to be re - elected You want a promotion, so you sabotage other applicants

18 Expository or Persuasive Planning
TYPES OF CONFLICT Type of Conflict The Crucible McCarthyism Historical/Current Personal Religious/ Political Factions question Parris’ leadership. Fear of Communist threat to democracy Conflict between Western ideology and Muslim extremists Generational differences in religious beliefs CONSEQUENCES OF CONFLICT Consequence The Crucible McCarthyism Historical/Current Personal Cracks in society are revealed Arguing, accusing others, loss of faith Prejudice surfaces, spying Racism becomes acceptable, people question leadership

19 Creative Responses If you are considering writing a response where the ideas from the text are implicit, use the same table approach to create ideas. If you are considering writing a response that is directly based on the play, you need to plan the types of responses you could write for each type of prompt you might get. If you are unsure – do both.

20 Creative responses E.g. Type of Prompt Aspect of Prompt
Text based response Parallel to text Causes Fear Letter to the Proctors from Mary Warren explaining why she blamed John Proctor Parody of 1950s suburban conformity Personal Grievance Write the scene where Elizabeth Proctor throws Abigail out Desire for Power

21 Your Writing If you want to make reference to parallels between The Crucible and historical or current events, you need to: Research carefully Be specific and detailed – don’t make general or vague statements e.g. “Hitler killed the Jews in World War II” – well, der! Discuss specific instances – pogroms in Poland, Auschwitz, survivors stories Look for the personal angle: tell the stories of individual situations rather than overall statements

22 Your writing If you are writing creatively, you need to know the characters and the language use very well. Developing character profiles may help with this. Beware of writing in the first person. You will have to be able to reflect the style of speaking as it is shown in the play. If writing in the third person, you can reflect Miller’s style in the asides that he writes in Act 1.

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