Presentation on theme: "McCarthyism: History in Literature"— Presentation transcript:
1 McCarthyism: History in Literature Arthur Miller’s Reasons for Writing The Crucible
2 THE CRUCIBLE IS AN ALLEGORY Allegory is a form of extended metaphor, inwhich objects, persons, and actions in aPiece of literature, are equated with the meanings thatlie outside the literature itself.The underlying meaning has moral, social,religious, or political significance.In other words, an allegory is a story with two meanings, a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning.
3 RED SCAREShortly after the end of World War I, a “Red Scare” took hold of the nation. Named after the red flag of the USSR. (Now Russia), the “Reds” were seen as a threat to the democracy of the United States.Fear, paranoia, and hysteria gripped the nation, and many innocent people were questioned and then jailed for expressing any view which was seen as anti-Democratic or anti-American.
4 What is McCarthyism? a movement leaders such as Senator Joseph McCarthy started in the late1940s-1950s; also known as “The SecondRed Scare”
5 MCCARTHYISMMcCarthyism is the term used to describe a period of intensesuspicion in the United States during the early 1950s.It began when Senator Joseph McCarthy, a U.S. senatorfrom Wisconsin, claimed that communists had infiltrated theDepartment of State.A special House Committee on Un-American Activities wasformed to investigate allegations of communism.During this period, people from all walks of life became thesubjects of aggressive “witch hunts” often based oninconclusive, questionable evidence.
6 MCCARTHYISM Persons accused of being communists were often denied employment in both thepublic and private sector.In the film industry alone, over 300 actors,writers, and directors were denied work in the U.S.American writer, Arthur Miller, was one ofthose alleged to have been “blacklisted”
7 ARTHUR MILLER wrote one of the most influential plays in American literature,The Crucible, whichwas written about “TheSalem Witch Trials,” but itwas actually a thinlydisguised play about McCarthyism.
8 WHY WAS THE CRUCIBLE WRITTEN? The Crucible was written by Arthur Miller in 1953 as anallegory for McCarthyism or the so called (second) Red Scare.Miller felt many personal convictions to McCarthyism as aresult of a multitude of events that happened in his life.Wanting to point out to the world the amazing parallelbetween the unjust Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and the(second) Red Scare, Miller wrote The Crucible to make apowerful statement about the dangers ofhysteria and the dehumanization that canresult.
9 ARTHUR MILLER (Continued) In 1953, Arthur Miller wrote and produced his play, TheCrucible. Ironically, many of his friends were beingpersecuted for their pro-communist beliefs. Miller himself wascalled before the House Un-American Activities Committee in1956, and like his protagonist in The Crucible, he refused toimplicate others involved in activities condemned by societyat the time.Much has been written and said about theanalogy drawn between McCarthy’s activities in connectionwith his House Committee and the events that took placeduring the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 as they are portrayedin Miller’s play.
10 Who did the “Red Scare” affect? This movement affected anyone, butespecially entertainers such as actors,screenwriters, singers, playwrights,musicians, and authors. Who wasresponsible? – Joseph McCarthy and hisHouse Un-American Activities Committee(HUAC).
11 During this time, Sen. McCarthy – and others – created a “blacklist” of thosepeople believed to be Communists; thesepeople, including celebrities, often lostmoney, their jobs, and their freedomsbecause of these false accusations
12 HUAC The HUAC was a group formed specifically to investigate any cases of alleged Communism.This group investigated anyone who seemed“unusual” or “outside of the norm,” anyone whoquestioned society or who took risks.Another famous HUACmember was J. Edgar Hoover.
13 Why Miller Cared So Much: First, Arthur Miller was claiming his own political statement about the times.Even more importantly, Miller was retaliatingagainst the government for their actions againsthim. Yes, McCarthy and his gang had evenaccused Miller of being a COMMUNIST
14 Miller Made His Mark:Miller had a bone to pick with the guys who accused him of Communism simply because of his play Death of a Salesman. Critics accused him of being too morbid and referred to the character Wally as “simply a nut”. In fact, Columbia studios released another play and movie, Life of a Salesman, which portrayed the play “as it should be.”
15 The CrucibleThe result was The Crucible, the play later made into several different movie versions, which became a huge success.
16 Celebrities Accused of McCarthyism Lucille Ball, actress
24 HOLLYWOOD TEN In September of 1947, the HUAC subpoenaed nineteen witnesses (most of whom were actors,directors, and writers) who had previously refusedto comment, claiming their Fifth Amendment rights.Eleven of the seventeen were called to testify; onlyone actually spoke on the stand—the remaining tenrefused to speak and were labeled the “HollywoodTen.”