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The Crucible AOS: Belonging

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1 The Crucible AOS: Belonging

2 HSC Examination Rubrics In your answer you will be assessed on how well you:  demonstrate understanding of the concept of belonging in the context of your study  analyse, explain and assess the ways belonging is represented in a variety of texts  organise, develop and express ideas using language appropriate to audience, purpose and context

3 Composer Text Responder Meaning Context & Perspectives: personal, cultural, historical, social Perceptions: interplay of recognition and interpretation and is influenced by our preconceived ideas, memories, experiences and senses Assumptions about belonging Meaning Representation of belonging through language features and ideas Context & Perspectives: personal, cultural, historical, social Meaning

4 Your Response  The possibilities presented by a sense of belonging to, or exclusion from the text and the world it represents – do you connect with the world of the play, its ideas and its characters?  May be influenced by the different ways perspectives are given voice in or are absent from a text – Abigail?

5 Your Response to the Play  “I am not sure what The Crucible is telling people now, but I know that its paranoid center is still pumping out the same darkly attractive warning that it did in the fifties.”  Although the play is set in 1692 and reflects the context of the 1950’s, its exploration of universal ideas such as the dangers of conformity and paranoia that continue to plague humanity ensure its continuing appeal. However, Miller’s detailed, didactic and lengthy stage directions or the archaic use of language could become a barrier between you and the play.

6 Concepts: Contextualisation “And we know as well how close to the edge we live and how weak we really are and how quickly swept by fear the mass of us can become when our panic button is pushed” Miller.

7  Son of Jewish immigrants who strictly followed their religious practice  Depression made him sympathetic to the communists  1950’s cold war; McCarthyism Concepts: Contextualisation

8 “…as the anti-Communist crusade settled in, and showed signs of becoming the permanent derangement of the American psyche, a kind of mystery began to emerge from its melodramas and comedies. We were all behaving differently than we used to; we had drunk from the cup of suspicion of one another; people inevitably were afraid of too close an association with someone who might one day fall afoul of some committee…We had entered a mysterious pall from which there seemed no exit…” Miller

9 Salem Context  1600’s native Indians had killed many of the settlers and the harsh, inhospitable landscape was very different to England  Created a theocracy  Any transgression was heresy  1692 some are becoming independent, free thinkers

10 “Evidently the time had come in New England when the repressions of order were heavier than seemed warranted by the dangers against which order was organised” (Miller, Act 1).”

11 Salem Context  In January 1692, a group of teenage girls were found to be suffering from a strange disease. Abigail Williams aged 11 or 12 and niece of Reverend Parris played an instigating role in the Salem Witch trials formally accusing over 41 people and being responsible for at least 17 capital cases.  By late August, nineteen people had been convicted and hanged for witchcraft.

12 Concepts: Perception & Assumptions  Perception and Assumptions: You must take into consideration Miller’s context and your own context to appreciate how Miller interprets belonging and how you respond to his perception of and assumption about belonging. You may have experienced overt peer pressure to conform or you may have been ostracised because you spoke out against something you believed was morally and ethically wrong. Experiences such as these combined with our values, attitudes and senses affect our perception of belonging.

13  Perception refers to the interplay of recognition and interpretation and is influenced by our preconceived ideas, memories, experiences and senses. It can alter and even distort how we view the notion of belonging.  How do you respond to fear, repression, hysteria… AOS Concepts

14  His assumptions about human behavior based on his experiences with fear and persecution in America in the 1950’s have shaped his representation of belonging  Evaluate why and how Miller has used stagecraft and language to position you to respond. Representation

15  The connections between texts through the concept of belonging  Compare and contrast  Connect through the thesis or line of argument AOS Concepts Interrelationships

16 Aspects of Belonging  Texts represent choices not to belong, or barriers which prevent belonging: Proctor and Rebecca choose not be part of the hysteria and madness that grips Salem. Proctor emerges as an independent thinker who questions those in authority. Parris’ pessimistic sermons have alienated them both. Abigail as an orphan and a servant believes that she is an outsider.

17 Aspects of Belonging  The potential of the individual to enrich or challenge a community or group: Consider how Abigail, the Putnams and the girls destroy any vestige of communal belonging in Salem, and how the courageous actions of individuals such as Proctor, Rebecca and Giles help to restore sanity and reason.

18 Aspects of Belonging  Texts reflect the way attitudes to belonging are modified over time: John Proctor who has isolated himself from the community because of guilt and rejection of the form of preaching develops a strong sense of communal belonging. He dies to protect others and his family’s reputation.

19  The different ways perspectives are given voice in or are absent from a text: Miller’s perspective is evident because of his detailed stage directions and psychological examination of the characters’ motives and actions. He influences the way we interpret the characters and respond to the issues. Aspects of Belonging

20 Textual Form  The Crucible is a modern tragedy of the common person who chooses, after acknowledging his or her flaws, to take a stand for what he or she believes in rather than conform and belong. The consequences for the individual are tragic but society is enlightened by his or her sacrifice.

21 Modern Tragedy  Proctor is forced to examine his actions and his relationship with Abigail and Elizabeth. He begins the painful process of self-examination.  Proctor is placed into the position of making an insurmountable decision that will alienate him from the community.  Proctor’s tragic death reaffirms the importance of courage, integrity and humanity.

22 Conflict  The essence of drama is conflict reflecting not belonging.  Each act builds frenetically to a crescendo.  Act I: “Abigail: I saw Goody Booth with the devil!”  Act II: “Aye, naked! And the wind, God’s icy wind, will blow!”  Act III: “God is dead!” “burn together!” (Hale)  Act IV: “The final drumroll crashes, then heightens violently”

23 Stage Directions  An unusual feature of the form is Miller’s extensive stage direction and commentary His detailed commentary could serve to provide you with the essential information to invite you into the world of the play so that you feel a strong sense of belonging, or alternatively, it could disengage you as it disrupts the flow of the action and could be perceived as didactic.

24 Setting  Historical setting is used as a backdrop to explore the psyche and values of the town’s inhabitants: “They believed, in short, that they held in their steady hands the candle that would light the world” Act I

25 Setting  Miller establishes light and darkness as recurrent motifs, symbolising humanity’s innate goodness vs. inner darkness and evil. In Betty’s bedroom “morning light streams” in (Act I, p.13); the courtroom has “sunlight pouring through” (Act III, p.77); and at the beginning of the final Act in Proctor’s jail cell, moonlight can only seep “through the bars” (Act IV, p.108). But when he chooses death over subjugation and defeat, the “new sun” pours in on Elizabeth’s face giving hope for the future (Act IV, p.126).

26 The Language  The emotive word choice, high modality and repeated exclamations, which are used to convey the conflict and represent the increasing disunity and paranoia in the community.  The tender language that represents familial belonging is only evident very briefly in the play when Elizabeth and Proctor are open and honest with one another before he is to be hanged. Even during this moment of clarity, the language is exclamatory.

27 The Language  The forceful and confronting use of imagery such as ‘his eyes were like coals and his fingers claw my neck’ stress the growing absence of any sense of communal belonging.

28 Proctor  Proctor chooses not to belong by failing to comply with the actions and demands of the majority  His refusal to name others reveals his humanity and his understanding of true communal belonging: “I have three children – how may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friends?”

29 Proctor  Proctor is an independent thinker who resists the authoritarian demands of the Church leaders such as Reverend Parris who is dividing the community through his obsession with hell and the Devil: “I like not the smell of this ‘authority’!”(Act I, p.35).  The community was founded on obedience and compliance to the Church, so people like Proctor who question the authority and who has elected to live out of town, are regarded as threatening the cohesion and beliefs of Salem.

30 Abigail  An independent, free thinker who has become self-reliant and hardened because she witnessed the horrifying slaughter of her parents.  She has suffered the insecurity of being an orphan, belonging to no family: “…I saw Indians smash my dear parents’ heads on the pillow next to mine…

31 Abigail  The lack of love and independence has made her bitter, opportunistic, devoid of a conscience and coldly calculating.  Abigail’s flirtation with witchcraft originates from her desire to be unconventional, and becomes a thrilling conduit to curse Proctor’s wife Elizabeth.  As her credibility and authority grow, Abigail leads the girls and the court to divide the community and commit a heinous crime against humanity.

32 Elizabeth  When you are betrayed by your husband, it is difficult to feel as if you still belong in your home and to the relationship.  People like Elizabeth who are willing to acknowledge their flaws will help to rebuild communal belonging

33 Ideas  True communal belonging can only be achieved through understanding, tolerance and compassion. Mob mentality unites the members of the community who are bitter, ambitious and jealous against those individuals who represent reason and integrity.

34  Communal belonging can be restored by individuals with a strong sense of integrity, loyalty and compassion.  Rebecca Nurse, more than any other character, exemplifies the attitude and values that are essential for a strong, supportive community. From the beginning, she questions the presence of evil and witchcraft, and begs for common sense to prevail. She identifies the real cause of the hysteria and echoes Miller’s sentiments that it is our flaws that divide a community: “Let us rather blame ourselves…” (Act I, p. 33). Her death shocks other members of the Salem community, such as Proctor and Giles, to challenge the actions of the girls and the court. Ideas

35 Individuals have the power to destroy communal belonging when a community is weakened by self-interest, envy and the absence of trust. Several individuals in the play are responsible for the destruction of communal belonging in Salem, but they would not have had the power to achieve this if the unity of the community was not questionable. “Long-held hatreds of neighbours could now be openly expressed, and vengeance taken… Ideas

36  Giles says that there has been trouble brewing for years in Salem, “…it’s a deep thing, and dark as a pit”  Reverend Parris is driven by greed and social acceptance, and his relentless focus on sin and the Devil in his sermons has caused disunity  Abigail’s actions have been triggered by her insecurity regarding her reputation and her hatred for Proctor’s wife  Church leaders who should represent wisdom and common sense have been too authoritarian Ideas

37  The pressure to belong and conform has the potential to threaten individuality and independent thought.  Belonging to a community or a group is not always a positive thing. To maintain the cohesion, power and authority of the community or group, individuals could be forced to conform and suppress their individuality. Freedom and independence can become casualties of conformity.  “a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it” Ideas

38  Candidates who clearly understood the purpose of their texts were able to demonstrate conceptual understanding and respond personally.  High-range responses … displayed an ability to evaluate and analyse.  Better responses developed a thesis which demonstrated a strong conceptual understanding Notes from the Marking Centre

39 HSC Exam The question must drive and shape your response. Your thesis or line of argument must be developed and sustained. Integrate your discussion of the ideas and the textual features and details of your texts using your thesis to shape the analysis. Your personal response to how belonging is represented and how your way of thinking has been challenged is valued!

40 Texts of own Choosing  Enable you to support and challenge the theses or lines of argument  You can easily discuss the textual features  Enable you to explore belonging in a range of contexts over time. For example, The Crucible reflects Miller’s perception of belonging in America in the 1950’s. You could examine a text from your times such as a recent film or song, and compare and contrast the perception and representation of belonging.

41  Select texts of own choosing that connect and contrast with how the concept of belonging has been explored and represented.  Mean Girls  The Mighty  1984  Mississippi Burning  Cruel Intentions  The Unknown Terrorist – Richard Flanagan  Tales from Outer Suburbia - Shaun Tan Texts of own Choosing  The Island – Armin Greder  Othello  American Born Chinese - Yang

42 If we want to belong and be accepted it is easier to conform and comply. The Island presents unquestioning conformity and mob rule in its most ugly and destructive form. Unlike The Crucible where at least a few dare to challenge the madness, no-one on the island questions the cruel ostracism of an outsider who is shipwrecked on the island. Juno in the film of the same name defies convention. She is a free spirit, atypical teenager who displays wisdom and commonsense beyond her years. Being pregnant at sixteen alienates Juno from her peers, but she just takes it all in her stride. Miller applauds the individual who stands up for what he or she believes in against the hostile tide of antipathy, but the deaths of these individuals demonstrates why so many choose to belong to the dominant group. Furthering a Thesis or Line of Argument

43 Texts of Own Choosing  Make connections through: -Conformity and peer pressure -Ignorance and fear -Relationships that enrich or impede belonging -Belonging to self

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