The Crucible • Written in the 1950’s as a response to the McCarthyism, the “hunt” for Communists during the Red Scare • Play set two centuries earlier in 1690’s • Consider that time period: • Puritan New England • Predestination • Based on actual events of the Salem Witch Trial
The Crucible 4 Corners
Agree or Disagree: “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of tem that hang!” John Proctor was right for refusing to tarnish his name.
Agree or Disagree: “I saw Goody Hawkins with the Devil!” “I saw Goody Bibber with the Devil!” “I saw Goody Booth with the Devil!” Abigail alone is the proper scapegoat for the witch hunt.
Agree or Disagree: “…is your husband a lecher?” “No, Sir.” Elizabeth made the correct decision at the time to lie, therefore saving her husband’s reputation.
Agree or Disagree: “The Crucible straddles two different worlds to make one, but it is not history in the usual sense of the word, but a moral, political and psychological construct that floats on the fluid emotions of both eras.” --Arthur Miller The Crucible is a cautionary tale, still applicable today.
Crucible (n) a container in which substances are heated to very high temperatures Why is the title apt?
Catcher in the Rye • Title based off the poem “Comin Thro' The Rye,” by Robert Burns • The gist: Is it anybody’s business but one’s one if they “meet a body…kiss a body comin thro’ the rye?” (OH!! Scandalous!!) • Written in 1951 • Consider from what events the world/America is recovering • Holden living during 1945ish
You’ll need your book to help answer/think through these questions. How does Salinger tend to end chapters? What do these endings have in common? How do they work to set the tone of the novel?
How does Holden speak? What kinds of diction choices does he make? Why is this important? To what degree can we trust Holden's descriptions of other people? Is Ackley really as pimply and disgusting as we're told he is? Is Phoebe really so smart and wonderful? “I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. If I'm on the way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera” (3.1)
Look at the end of the second to last chapter (Twenty-Five), when Holden watches Phoebe go around on the carousel. Holden says, "I was damn near bawling, I felt so damn happy, if you want to know the truth. I don't know why. It was just that she looked so damn nice, the way she kept going around and around, in her blue coat and all. God, I wish you could've been there." The next (and last) chapter pulls out of the narrative and returns to seventeen-year-old Holden, the one telling us the story in the first place. So how does Chapter Twenty-Five function as a closing to the story-within-the-novel? How is that ending different from the ending we see in Chapter Twenty-Six? Does the tone feel very different between the two? What might this tell us about how Holden is now (at seventeen) as compared to how he was then (at sixteen)?
What might Holden’s commentary regarding Phoebe on the carousel suggest about his view of life? What about his view of himself? “…the thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but it's bad if you say anything to them."