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Why I Wrote “The Crucible”
By Arthur Miller
As I watched “The Crucible” taking shape as a movie over much of the past year, the sheer depth of time that it represents for me kept returning to mind. As those powerful actors blossomed on the screen, and the children and the horses, the crowds and the wagons, I thought again about how I came to cook all this up nearly fifty years ago, in an America almost nobody I know seems to remember clearly. In a way, there is a biting irony in this film’s having been made by a Hollywood studio, something unimaginable in the fifties. But there they are—Daniel Day-Lewis (John Proctor) scything his sea-bordered field, Joan Allen (Elizabeth) lying pregnant in the frigid jail, Winona Ryder (Abigail) stealing her minister-uncle’s money, majestic Paul Scofield (Judge Danforth) and his righteous empathy with the Devil-possessed children, and all of them looking as inevitable as rain.
I remember those years—they formed “The Crucible” ’s skeleton—but I have lost the dead weight of the fear I had then. Fear doesn’t travel well; just as it can warp judgment, its absence can diminish memory’s truth. What terrifies one generation is likely to bring only a puzzled smile to the next. I remember how in 1964, only twenty years after the war, Harold Clurman, the director of “Incident at Vichy,” showed the cast a film of a Hitler speech, hoping to give them a sense of the Nazi period in which my play took place. They watched as Hitler, facing a vast stadium full of adoring people, went up on his toes in ecstasy, hands clasped under his chin, a sublimely self-gratified grin on his face, his body swivelling rather cutely, and they giggled at his overacting.
Likewise, films of Senator Joseph McCarthy are rather unsettling—if you remember the fear he once spread. Buzzing his truculent sidewalk brawler’s snarl through the hairs in his nose, squinting through his cat’s eyes and sneering like a villain, he comes across now as nearly comical, a self-aware performer keeping a straight face as he does his juicy threat-shtick.
McCarthy’s power to stir fears of creeping Communism was not entirely based on illusion, of course; the paranoid, real or pretended, always secretes its pearl around a grain of fact. From being our wartime ally, the Soviet Union rapidly became an expanding empire. In 1949, Mao Zedong took power in China. Western Europe also seemed ready to become Red—especially Italy, where the Communist Party was the largest outside Russia, and was growing. Capitalism, in the opinion of many, myself included, had nothing more to say, its final poisoned bloom having been Italian and German Fascism. McCarthy—brash and ill-mannered but to many authentic and true—boiled it all down to what anyone could understand: we had “lost China” and would soon lose Europe as well, because the State Department—staffed, of course, under Democratic Presidents—was full of treasonous pro-Soviet intellectuals. It was as simple as that.
If our losing China seemed the equivalent of a flea’s losing an elephant, it was still a phrase—and a conviction—that one did not dare to question; to do so was to risk drawing suspicion on oneself. Indeed, the State Department proceeded to hound and fire the officers who knew China, its language, and its opaque culture—a move that suggested the practitioners of sympathetic magic who wring the neck of a doll in order to make a distant enemy’s head drop off. There was magic all around; the politics of alien conspiracy soon dominated political discourse and bid fair to wipe out any other issue. How could one deal with such enormities in a play?
“The Crucible” was an act of desperation. Much of my desperation branched out, I suppose, from a typical Depression-era trauma—the blow struck on the mind by the rise of European Fascism and the brutal anti-Semitism it had brought to power. But by 1950, when I began to think of writing about the hunt for Reds in America, I was motivated in some great part by the paralysis that had set in among many liberals who, despite their discomfort with the inquisitors’ violations of civil rights, were fearful, and with good reason, of being identified as covert Communists if they should protest too strongly.
In any play, however trivial, there has to be a still point of moral reference against which to gauge the action. In our lives, in the late nineteen-forties and early nineteen-fifties, no such point existed anymore. The left could not look straight at the Soviet Union’s abrogations of human rights. The anti-Communist liberals could not acknowledge the violations of those rights by congressional committees. The far right, meanwhile, was licking up all the cream. The days of “ J’accuse ” were gone, for anyone needs to feel right to declare someone else wrong. Gradually, all the old political and moral reality had melted like a Dali watch. Nobody but a fanatic, it seemed, could really say all that he believed.
President Truman was among the first to have to deal with the dilemma, and his way of resolving it—of having to trim his sails before the howling gale on the right—turned out to be momentous. At first, he was outraged at the allegation of widespread Communist infiltration of the government and called the charge of “coddling Communists” a red herring dragged in by the Republicans to bring down the Democrats. But such was the gathering power of raw belief in the great Soviet plot that Truman soon felt it necessary to institute loyalty boards of his own.
The Red hunt, led by the House Committee on Un-American Activities and by McCarthy, was becoming the dominating fixation of the American psyche. It reached Hollywood when the studios, after first resisting, agreed to submit artists’ names to the House Committee for “clearing” before employing them. This unleashed a veritable holy terror among actors, directors, and others, from Party members to those who had had the merest brush with a front organization.
The Soviet plot was the hub of a great wheel of causation; the plot justified the crushing of all nuance, all the shadings that a realistic judgment of reality requires. Even worse was the feeling that our sensitivity to this onslaught on our liberties was passing from us—indeed, from me. In “Timebends,” my autobiography, I recalled the time I’d written a screenplay (“The Hook”) about union corruption on the Brooklyn waterfront. Harry Cohn, the head of Columbia Pictures, did something that would once have been considered unthinkable: he showed my script to the F.B.I. Cohn then asked me to take the gangsters in my script, who were threatening and murdering their opponents, and simply change them to Communists. When I declined to commit this idiocy (Joe Ryan, the head of the longshoremen’s union, was soon to go to Sing Sing for racketeering), I got a wire from Cohn saying, “The minute we try to make the script pro-American you pull out.” By then—it was 1951—I had come to accept this terribly serious insanity as routine, but there was an element of the marvellous in it which I longed to put on the stage.
In those years, our thought processes were becoming so magical, so paranoid, that to imagine writing a play about this environment was like trying to pick one’s teeth with a ball of wool: I lacked the tools to illuminate miasma. Yet I kept being drawn back to it.
I had read about the witchcraft trials in college, but it was not until I read a book published in 1867—a two-volume, thousand-page study by Charles W. Upham, who was then the mayor of Salem—that I knew I had to write about the period. Upham had not only written a broad and thorough investigation of what was even then an almost lost chapter of Salem’s past but opened up to me the details of personal relationships among many participants in the tragedy.
I visited Salem for the first time on a dismal spring day in 1952; it was a sidetracked town then, with abandoned factories and vacant stores. In the gloomy courthouse there I read the transcripts of the witchcraft trials of 1692, as taken down in a primitive shorthand by ministers who were spelling each other. But there was one entry in Upham in which the thousands of pieces I had come across were jogged into place. It was from a report written by the Reverend Samuel Parris, who was one of the chief instigators of the witch-hunt. “During the examination of Elizabeth Procter, Abigail Williams and Ann Putnam”—the two were “afflicted” teen-age accusers, and Abigail was Parris’s niece—“both made offer to strike at said Procter; but when Abigail’s hand came near, it opened, whereas it was made up into a fist before, and came down exceeding lightly as it drew near to said Procter, and at length, with open and extended fingers, touched Procter’s hood very lightly. Immediately Abigail cried out her fingers, her fingers, her fingers burned. . . .”
In this remarkably observed gesture of a troubled young girl, I believed, a play became possible. Elizabeth Proctor had been the orphaned Abigail’s mistress, and they had lived together in the same small house until Elizabeth fired the girl. By this time, I was sure, John Proctor had bedded Abigail, who had to be dismissed most likely to appease Elizabeth. There was bad blood between the two women now. That Abigail started, in effect, to condemn Elizabeth to death with her touch, then stopped her hand, then went through with it, was quite suddenly the human center of all this turmoil.
All this I understood. I had not approached the witchcraft out of nowhere, or from purely social and political considerations. My own marriage of twelve years was teetering and I knew more than I wished to know about where the blame lay. That John Proctor the sinner might overturn his paralyzing personal guilt and become the most forthright voice against the madness around him was a reassurance to me, and, I suppose, an inspiration: it demonstrated that a clear moral outcry could still spring even from an ambiguously unblemished soul. Moving crabwise across the profusion of evidence, I sensed that I had at last found something of myself in it, and a play began to accumulate around this man.
But as the dramatic form became visible, one problem remained unyielding: so many practices of the Salem trials were similar to those employed by the congressional committees that I could easily be accused of skewing history for a mere partisan purpose. Inevitably, it was no sooner known that my new play was about Salem than I had to confront the charge that such an analogy was specious—that there never were any witches but there certainly are Communists. In the seventeenth century, however, the existence of witches was never questioned by the loftiest minds in Europe and America; and even lawyers of the highest eminence, like Sir Edward Coke, a veritable hero of liberty for defending the common law against the king’s arbitrary power, believed that witches had to be prosecuted mercilessly. Of course, there were no Communists in 1692, but it was literally worth your life to deny witches or their powers, given the exhortation in the Bible, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” There had to be witches in the world or the Bible lied. Indeed, the very structure of evil depended on Lucifer’s plotting against God. (And the irony is that klatches of Luciferians exist all over the country today; there may even be more of them now than there are Communists.)
As with most humans, panic sleeps in one unlighted corner of my soul. When I walked at night along the empty, wet streets of Salem in the week that I spent there, I could easily work myself into imagining my terror before a gaggle of young girls flying down the road screaming that somebody’s “familiar spirit” was chasing them. This anxiety-laden leap backward over nearly three centuries may have been helped along by a particular Upham footnote. At a certain point, the high court of the province made the fatal decision to admit, for the first time, the use of “spectral evidence” as proof of guilt. Spectral evidence, so aptly named, meant that if I swore that you had sent out your “familiar spirit” to choke, tickle, or poison me or my cattle, or to control my thoughts and actions, I could get you hanged unless you confessed to having had contact with the Devil. After all, only the Devil could lend such powers of invisible transport to confederates, in his everlasting plot to bring down Christianity.
Naturally, the best proof of the sincerity of your confession was your naming others whom you had seen in the Devil’s company—an invitation to private vengeance, but made official by the seal of the theocratic state. It was as though the court had grown tired of thinking and had invited in the instincts: spectral evidence—that poisoned cloud of paranoid fantasy—made a kind of lunatic sense to them, as it did in plot-ridden 1952, when so often the question was not the acts of an accused but the thoughts and intentions in his alienated mind.
The breathtaking circularity of the process had a kind of poetic tightness. Not everybody was accused, after all, so there must be some reason why you were . By denying that there is any reason whatsoever for you to be accused, you are implying, by virtue of a surprisingly small logical leap, that mere chance picked you out, which in turn implies that the Devil might not really be at work in the village or, God forbid, even exist. Therefore, the investigation itself is either mistaken or a fraud. You would have to be a crypto-Luciferian to say that—not a great idea if you wanted to go back to your farm.
The more I read into the Salem panic, the more it touched off corresponding images of common experiences in the fifties: the old friend of a blacklisted person crossing the street to avoid being seen talking to him; the overnight conversions of former leftists into born-again patriots; and so on. Apparently, certain processes are universal. When Gentiles in Hitler’s Germany, for example, saw their Jewish neighbors being trucked off, or farmers in Soviet Ukraine saw the Kulaks vanishing before their eyes, the common reaction, even among those unsympathetic to Nazism or Communism, was quite naturally to turn away in fear of being identified with the condemned. As I learned from non-Jewish refugees, however, there was often a despairing pity mixed with “Well, they must have done something .” Few of us can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable And so the evidence has to be internally denied.
I was also drawn into writing “The Crucible” by the chance it gave me to use a new language—that of seventeenth-century New England. That plain, craggy English was liberating in a strangely sensuous way, with its swings from an almost legalistic precision to a wonderful metaphoric richness. “The Lord doth terrible things amongst us, by lengthening the chain of the roaring lion in an extraordinary manner, so that the Devil is come down in great wrath,” Deodat Lawson, one of the great witch-hunting preachers, said in a sermon. Lawson rallied his congregation for what was to be nothing less than a religious war against the Evil One—“Arm, arm, arm!”—and his concealed anti-Christian accomplices.
But it was not yet my language, and among other strategies to make it mine I enlisted the help of a former University of Michigan classmate, the Greek-American scholar and poet Kimon Friar. (He later translated Kazantzakis.) The problem was not to imitate the archaic speech but to try to create a new echo of it which would flow freely off American actors’ tongues. As in the film, nearly fifty years later, the actors in the first production grabbed the language and ran with it as happily as if it were their customary speech.
“The Crucible” took me about a year to write. With its five sets and a cast of twenty-one, it never occurred to me that it would take a brave man to produce it on Broadway, especially given the prevailing climate, but Kermit Bloomgarden never faltered. Well before the play opened, a strange tension had begun to build. Only two years earlier, the “Death of a Salesman” touring company had played to a thin crowd in Peoria, Illinois, having been boycotted nearly to death by the American Legion and the Jaycees. Before that, the Catholic War Veterans had prevailed upon the Army not to allow its theatrical groups to perform, first, “All My Sons,” and then any play of mine, in occupied Europe. The Dramatists Guild refused to protest attacks on a new play by Sean O’Casey, a self-declared Communist, which forced its producer to cancel his option. I knew of two suicides by actors depressed by upcoming investigation, and every day seemed to bring news of people exiling themselves to Europe: Charlie Chaplin, the director Joseph Losey, Jules Dassin, the harmonica virtuoso Larry Adler, Donald Ogden Stewart, one of the most sought-after screenwriters in Hollywood, and Sam Wanamaker, who would lead the successful campaign to rebuild the Old Globe Theatre on the Thames.
On opening night, January 22, 1953, I knew that the atmosphere would be pretty hostile. The coldness of the crowd was not a surprise; Broadway audiences were not famous for loving history lessons, which is what they made of the play. It seems to me entirely appropriate that on the day the play opened, a newspaper headline read “ALL THIRTEEN REDS GUILTY” —a story about American Communists who faced prison for “conspiring to teach and advocate the duty and necessity of forcible overthrow of government.” Meanwhile, the remoteness of the production was guaranteed by the director, Jed Harris, who insisted that this was a classic requiring the actors to face front, never each other. The critics were not swept away. “Arthur Miller is a problem playwright in both senses of the word,” wrote Walter Kerr of the Herald Tribune , who called the play “a step backward into mechanical parable.” The Times was not much kinder, saying, “There is too much excitement and not enough emotion in ‘The Crucible.’ ” But the play’s future would turn out quite differently.
About a year later, a new production, one with younger, less accomplished actors, working in the Martinique Hotel ballroom, played with the fervor that the script and the times required, and “The Crucible” became a hit. The play stumbled into history, and today, I am told, it is one of the most heavily demanded trade-fiction paperbacks in this country; the Bantam and Penguin editions have sold more than six million copies. I don’t think there has been a week in the past forty-odd years when it hasn’t been on a stage somewhere in the world. Nor is the new screen version the first. Jean-Paul Sartre, in his Marxist phase, wrote a French film adaptation that blamed the tragedy on the rich landowners conspiring to persecute the poor. (In truth, most of those who were hanged in Salem were people of substance, and two or three were very large landowners.)
It is only a slight exaggeration to say that, especially in Latin America, “The Crucible” starts getting produced wherever a political coup appears imminent, or a dictatorial regime has just been overthrown. From Argentina to Chile to Greece, Czechoslovakia, China, and a dozen other places, the play seems to present the same primeval structure of human sacrifice to the furies of fanaticism and paranoia that goes on repeating itself forever as though imbedded in the brain of social man.
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. For some, the play seems to be about the dilemma of relying on the testimony of small children accusing adults of sexual abuse, something I’d not have dreamed of forty years ago. For others, it may simply be a fascination with the outbreak of paranoia that suffuses the play—the blind panic that, in our age, often seems to sit at the dim edges of consciousness. Certainly its political implications are the central issue for many people; the Salem interrogations turn out to be eerily exact models of those yet to come in Stalin’s Russia, Pinochet’s Chile, Mao’s China, and other regimes. (Nien Cheng, the author of “Life and Death in Shanghai,” has told me that she could hardly believe that a non-Chinese—someone who had not experienced the Cultural Revolution—had written the play.) But below its concerns with justice the play evokes a lethal brew of illicit sexuality, fear of the supernatural, and political manipulation, a combination not unfamiliar these days. The film, by reaching the broad American audience as no play ever can, may well unearth still other connections to those buried public terrors that Salem first announced on this continent.
One thing more—something wonderful in the old sense of that word. I recall the weeks I spent reading testimony by the tome, commentaries, broadsides, confessions, and accusations. And always the crucial damning event was the signing of one’s name in “the Devil’s book.” This Faustian agreement to hand over one’s soul to the dreaded Lord of Darkness was the ultimate insult to God. But what were these new inductees supposed to have done once they’d signed on? Nobody seems even to have thought to ask. But, of course, actions are as irrelevant during cultural and religious wars as they are in nightmares. The thing at issue is buried intentions—the secret allegiances of the alienated heart, always the main threat to the theocratic mind, as well as its immemorial quarry. ♦
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A+ Student Essay: The Role of Sex & Sexual Repression in the Play
Part of the enduring appeal of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible lies in its resonance with various contemporary events. While the play is certainly a critique of the McCarthy era, it can also be read as a commentary on anti-feminism, fascism, or any number of other repressive movements. Miller’s play remains so broadly applicable in part because he avoids attributing the Salemites’ hysteria to any one specific cause. He does not simply ascribe the witch hunt mania to religious conviction, groupthink, or longstanding feuds. Rather, he suggests that a number of complex causes led to the deaths of innocent people, and that sexual repression was one such cause.
Abigail’s inability to express her sexuality openly is one of the key instigators of the witch hunt. In puritanical 1690 s Massachusetts, Abigail’s brand of passionate sexuality can find no appropriate outlet. Her nature demands that she be a voracious lover, but her circumstances forbid it. When she falls for John Proctor, she knows that their dalliance cannot possibly have a happy outcome. Proctor will not leave his wife, because divorce would be unthinkable, and he will not continue the affair, because he remains wracked with guilt over what his society considers the grave sin of extramarital sex. Nor can Abigail comfort herself with the knowledge that she will find another lover sooner or later. Desirable men, let alone desirable men willing to sleep with women who are not their wives, are a rarity in Salem. Abigail cannot find relief by talking about her problems, since her behavior, shocking by the standards of the day, would horrify other members of her community. Frustrated at every turn, Abigail turns to violent scheming. When the spells she asks Tituba to perform snowball into a hunt for witches, Abigail sees a chance to get rid of Elizabeth Proctor, the woman she holds responsible for impeding her sexual fulfillment.
The enthusiasm with which Betty and the other girls follow Abigail’s lead can also be traced to sexual repression. Society teaches these girls that their physical urges are unnatural, even sinful. Therefore, the girls vent their feelings in secret, with each other. While we never learn precisely what happens in the woods, Miller implies that the girls’ meetings have an erotic component. In his notes in Act One, Miller likens the meetings to the “ klatches in Europe, where the daughters of the towns would assemble at night and . . . give themselves to love.” While there is nothing sinister about what Abigail and the girls do in the woods, there is something sinister about the girls’ reaction to their own behavior. They believe they are doing something horribly wrong, and when they are threatened with exposure, they grow hysterical. So convinced are they of the inherent wickedness of sexuality that they would rather send people to their deaths than confess to their own sexual behavior.
Elizabeth Proctor’s shame over her husband’s sexuality and her incapacity to discuss it openly help doom Proctor to death. Beyond her horror at her husband’s sinful adulterous behavior, Elizabeth feels an aversion to exposing that behavior in court. In part, her reluctance stems from a charitable desire to protect Proctor’s reputation. In addition, though, Elizabeth is deeply ashamed of what her husband has done. She is a notably truthful woman, whom lying causes almost physical pain. Yet she would rather lie under oath than admit she is married to an adulterer. By inadvertently casting her husband as a liar, Elizabeth helps the cause of those eager to damn him as a witch.
Miller suggests that the consequences of sexual repression can be as dire as the consequences of religious intolerance or fear of outsiders. In addition to its impassioned plea for individual rights and measured political discourse, The Crucible makes a strong case for the open acknowledgment and analysis of sexual desires.
Popular pages: The Crucible
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Free Crucible Essays and Papers
Introduction The Crucible – It can withstand extreme conditions. While heating metals in it, the impurities come up to the surface and the pure substance can be obtained. It basically helps in separating pure and impure substances. Link – In Miller’s play, the character of John Proctor is tested. Eventually he decides to sacrifice his life, rather than betray his beliefs. In 1953, at the time the book was written, the Second World War had just ended but still there was a clash of democrats ands
In the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller goes into detail about the historical event, the Salem witchcraft trials which took place in Massachusetts in 1692. The drama centers on John and Elizabeth Proctor and a young girl Abigail Williams, whom John Proctor has committed adultery with. In order to get rid of Elizabeth so that Abigail can have John to herself Abigail accuses John’s wife of witchcraft, a crime that was highly frowned upon. John proctor goes through a series of changes from being a
The Crucible Explore how Miller dramatises the conflicts within John Proctor and presents him as a good man, despite his failings. How does Miller make him dramatically effective for an audience? Refer to Act two and Act four. Miller's purpose through writing 'The Crucible' was to express his own views on what was happening in America at the time in 1953 - McCarthyism, a period of intense anticommunism. Miller uses the character of John Proctor to put across his views. He is interested
- 1 Works Cited
In the play The Crucible, characters are presented in many ways. The ways Miller presents the character of Parris is through what the characters say, stage directions, what the character of Parris says and does and the relationships that Parris has with other characters in the play. At the beginning of the play, Miller describes Reverend Parris using narration. This is the first impressions we get of Parris. “…discovered kneeling next to a bed, evidently in prayer…” From this we know that the character
to present time due to conspiracies such as the witch trials and the communism era. The Crucible by Arthur Miller was written during the era of communism to mere the hysteria. The Crucible is about the Salem witch trials in Salem Massachusetts in 1692. It’s a corrupt witch trial in Salem that’s due to false accusations of witchcraft for personal gains. John Proctor is the protagonist in the story The Crucible who goes through the ultimate test by choosing his reputation over integrity. He also had
The play The Crucible by Arthur Miller focuses on the frenzy that occurred in the Massachusetts town of Salem in the year 1692. It shows the interactions between the characters and how their varying personalities affected the dynamics of the trials. One of these characters is Giles Corey, an eighty-three year old farmer who is the scapegoat for many of the bad occurrences in the town. The primary reason for this is that he is uneducated and had a fiery personality which led to many confrontations
characters in the written text(s). Through time it can be seen that the world’s history has a nature of repeating its self. Author Miller, was aware of this as he experienced a repitition of history of society’s flawed government. In the text The Crucible, the writer, Author Miller has identified and illustrated the problems society faced during the 1950’s setting by drawing parallels with the setting of the 1962 Salem witch hunt. This setting helps readers to understand the characters of John Proctor
Justice played a big role in The Crucible. In the play, a manipulative girl is infatuated with a married man and will go to any lengths to get what she wants, even accusing others of witchcraft and putting their lives at risk. Her accusations cause mass hysteria in the town of Salem. The Salem community’s obsession with trying to provide justice only caused injustice against the accused. As accusations arose, the town became so focused on getting confessions and holding trials they forgot to look
ENG4U-Unit 5-The Crucible-Reader Response Summative By: Tharumiga The play The Crucible by Arthur Miller, takes a closer look at the Salem Witch trials. The novel sets off in Salem, MA during the 1950s when the witch trials first started. In this town the people held a strong belief on religious faith. When a young girl seeks to destroy the relationship between a husband and a wife she sets loose the belief that some people had been taken over by the devil. This belief quickly spreads throughout
Progression of Women The women portrayed in The Crucible do not present women in a positive way, nor does it support the feminist theories. It reinforces the stereotypes of the 1950’s. Women from both time eras had difficulties with their rights and proving their worth in this world. But as time progressed, they found out there is more to life rather than changing diapers, keeping the house clean, and the man satisfied. The Crucible shows that women had no say so in how their life and marriage went
There is not one person in the world that does not have conflicts. The thing that makes conflicts different is the way that they are solved. The play, The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, is about the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. In the play, John Proctor, a main character in the play, had many conflicts which eventually led him to his tragic death. He had conflicts with three characters in the play including his wife, Elizabeth Proctor. He also had a conflict with his ex-servant girl, Abigail
The Crucible Analysis
The Crucible takes place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. During this time period, Salem is in hysteria due to the witch hunts and trials of the seventeenth century. The hysteria of the witch trials paints a picture of Good vs Evil which makes The Crucible a morality play. Furthermore, Miller intended to create his characters this way in order for people to reflect on their current way of life. Specifically, the Red Scare that was taking place when the play was first released. The Crucible is a
Mccarthyism In The Crucible
evidence and the power hungry government. Despite the lack of evidence, the influence of the government’s spurious claims causes unnecessary hysteria and chaos within America. Likewise, these events are prevalent within Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible. The witch trials symbolize the court hearings during McCarthyism, and an identical absence of feasible evidence and a town overridden by fear lead to fallacious convictions. Block’s political cartoons embody the fraudulent evidence and hysteria
Examples of Crucibles in Aurthur Miller's "The Crucible"
A Crucible is a container that can withstand great amount of heat, such as one required for refining gold. It can also mean a severe trial. In the play “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller, severe trails occur throughout the play, not just in the courtroom but also in people’s homes and souls. I believe Arthur Miller named his play “The Crucible” because it shows the trials and hardships people face within themselves, the courtroom and Puritan society. An example of a Crucible is a trial or battle someone
Inaccuracies In The Crucible
The Salem vs the Crucible The Crucible, a play written by Arthur Miller, is based on the actual people of the Salem witchcrafts trials. Arthur Miller wrote the Crucible in the early 1950s in response to experiencing his own modern “witch trials” in the United State. During this time, the panic of Communism has arisen in the United Stated and Senator Joseph McCarthy convinced himself that the American government was slowly being taken over by communists. He began hunting them out, forcing them
Abigail In The Crucible
Events such as when many innocent people were, “tortured until they confessed, and then were hanged” (Jimerson 29). John Proctor is no exception to this horrific event. Proctor is wrongly accused, by Abigail Williams, a young lady from the play, The Crucible, to be involved in witchcraft. In order to show reasons not to blindly follow authority figures, author Arthur Miller transitions the reasons behind Abigail’s actions from lust to self-preservation. Abigail is trying to eliminate John Proctor’s
Greed In The Crucible
The Crucible In the play, The Crucible by Arther Miller, the author depicts a theme of greed and revenge. The play takes place in 1962, in Salem, Massachusetts where infamous witch trials are held. The play is filled with revenge hungry and self motivated people, who are falsely accused of witchcraft and have their lives on the line. Rev Parris, Abigail Williams, and Thomas Putnam exhibit the many effects that greediness has on people and how easily it can ruin someone's life. Many people who were
Deceit In The Crucible
meaning to undermine him or her for personal gain. Fueled by wrath and driven by gluttony and greed does the flagship of envy sail. Regardless of occupation, social rank, or wealth, someone is jealous of what you have or are. In Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”, we follow a close to truth telling of the 1692 Salem witch trials where he tells of a time when many accusations of witchcraft led to death of innocents. These liars who falsely accuse those they despise posses great strength under their shroud
Arthur Miller wrote “The Crucible” in 1953. Miller wrote “The Crucible” because one of the most common issues in society is when an individual's freedom goes against the conformity of others. In “The Crucible” there were similarities to several investigations that had created fear and suspicion in American society. During the play there were several who were investigated because they created fear and suspicion among those who accused them of witchcraft. Many consider the play to be an attack on
Trials In The Crucible
Puritans have worked towards has finally come true. Even though they finally have a place to be free they are still under a someone’s rule. They are under the rule of their mind. The author of the The Crucible, Arthur MIller, wrote the lovely tale to illustrate the trials of Salem. . The Crucible tells the story of what happened to this little village as they dealt with the forces trying to tear them apart. These forces were people in the village. The people thought to be the sweetest soul were
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
In 1953, American playwright and essayist, Arthur Miller, wrote a famous play called The Crucible. It was loosely based on the Salem Witch Trials that happened in Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1692. But more importantly, it offered a social commentary about the wrongful prosecution of communists by the US government. The Crucible was first performed on January 22nd, 1953 at the Martin Beck Theatre. It won the Tony Award for the Best Play that year.
The play tells the story of John Proctor and other members of the Salem town who are falsely accused of practicing witchcraft. Abigail Williams, Betty Parris, and a few other girls claim that people in the town have connections with the devil. Judge Danforth; Reverend Parris; Reverend Hale; and Proctor’s wife, Elizabeth, are some of the major characters of The Crucible. The four-act play begins with a group of girls, led by Abigail, playing in the forest along with the black slave, Tituba. When Betty Parris enters into a comatose state, her father, Reverend Parris, questions Tituba and the girls. Once Betty wakes up, she and the other girls wrongly accuse the people of Salem of practicing witchcraft. The Crucible concludes with John Proctor being sentenced to death after he refuses to accept the false charges pressed against him.
Vengeance, pride, and justice are some of the themes that are explored in Miller’s play. Later, Miller wrote an article to disclose the purpose of The Crucible, i.e., to shed light on the problem of the “Red Scare” that was prevalent in the US in the 1950s. Through the play, Miller expressed his strong dissent against the US Congress. It did not go down well with the government as he was convicted by the Committee on un-American activities in 1956.
The Crucible is one of the most reputed works of Arthur Miller. It has been adapted into films, television programs, and opera shows.
Here are some literary analysis essays on this famous play and the playwright:
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The Crucible Many different parts form together to make up the society we see in The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller. Whether it be religion, government, or social roles; they all play some sort of impacting part to the characters we met while watching The Crucible. Who knew that religion and government could change a person’s life in a matter of minutes like it did so many times throughout the movie. The characters like Abigail Williams and John Proctor both knew the risks of going against
English Homework Sophia Cassan What role does sex, and sexual repression play in The Crucible? The Crucible is a play constructed on conflict, lies and deception, written by Arthur Miller in 1952. The key theme of this theatrical four-act drama is ‘Wheels within wheels’. Set in Salem, in the heart of puritan Massachusetts, in 1692, the plot follows a community of villagers plagued by accusations of witchcraft. Amidst the executions of their friends, the remaining villagers turn to religion, rumours
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible explores tolerance through a variety of situations all based around the accusations, and the actual Salem witch trials. Tolerance is a result of different people’s experiences, such as conflicts with each other, or themselves, the actions of the characters, and the different themes that tie into the novel. Whether it is how “witches” are taking over Salem or how adultery is ruining people’s marriages, Miller makes sure tolerance is portrayed. The tolerance that the characters
The Crucible: Act One 1. Where and when is the opening scene of the play set? * The opening scene was held in the Salem in the Spring of year 1692 2. Why has Parris sent for Reverend Hale from Beverly? * Parris sent for Reverend Hale to see what is going on with his sick daughter, Betty. 3. What do we learn about the events in the forest and Abigail Williams’ connections with the Proctor family? * Abigail is in love with John Proctor and drank some charm to
The Crucible Act Four Questions Short Response Answer the following questions based on your knowledge of the drama. Write a response on a separate sheet of paper. 1. Where does Tituba think that the Devil is going to take her? 2. Give one example of how Abigail shows her dishonesty in this act. 3. What effect do the trials have on Salem? Use three details from the drama to support your answer. 4. When first arrives at the Salem jail, Danforth complains, “There is a prodigious stench in this
The Crucible “The witch-hunt was not, however, a mere repression. It was also, and as importantly, a long overdue opportunity for everyone so inclined to publicly express his guilt and sin, under the cover of accusations against the victims.” (Page 7 of Act One). These conflicts result and produce even more tragic occurrences. These conflicts are between either those have sinned and been accused – John Proctor, those who have been sinned against and accused out of jealousy and fear – Elizabeth
The play of “The Crucible” takes place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. This play is based off of the events that took place during the Salem Witch Trials. During this time Massachusetts was still a colony and Salem was a Puritan village within the colony. Arthur Miller, the author of this play, explains that the Salem Witch Trials developed from the Puritan's moral code during that time. The Puritan’s during this time were against all things out of the norm in their society such as witchcraft, affairs
The Crucible Definition
Arthur Miller’s masterpiece, “The Crucible”, is there a mention of any form of a Crucible. Where did Arthur Miller come up with the title of his play? In fact he uses the title as a metaphor for both definitions of the term. The title “The Crucible” can be interpreted as having characteristics of both a crucible from chemistry and a crucible to describe hard tests and trials. The easiest definition to explain is the physical, more literal form of a crucible. It is a piece of laboratory equipment
Judgement The Crucible
The Crucible, an excellent drama for the large diversity of themes and its judgements to the drama. These notions and themes appear from the methodology of insincerity to reposition out of harm’s way and tossing an accusation towards another individual to the idea of valuing your family name. The witch-hunt plays an important portion of influencing the characters along with how they act to the events. The Crucible contains a variety of means to interpret the Author’s intentions of the Crucible, but
The Crucible Weaknesses
a difficult task some people respond better than others. Some people may give no effort because something is too challenging or involves too much work. Others may take action and work hard to succeed. Some people have the fear of failure. In “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller, some characters succeed through tough tasks and others accept defeat. Abigail Williams is a 17 year old girl who wants to have a good reputation in the town, but she also takes many interesting actions to boost her reputation.
The Crucible Analysis
The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a one of a kind, outstanding play that remains relevant from the 1950’s through today. The Crucible depicts life in the 1600s during the Salem witch trials. Arthur Miller crafts an intricately layered story with many points of view from a variety of characters. Although the story takes place in 1692 the lessons and values taught have importance in our society today. One of the lessons highlighted in The Crucible is how ignorance can affect communities and even have
Jealousies In The Crucible
From The Crucible and my own experience there have been some types of jealousies, selfish ambitions, and peer pressures, etc. They are both the same from the story and into real life experience. So let’s start with The Crucible there is a lot going on in there because there is proctor and elizabeth and abigail and more there is jealousies and more. And in my life experience there has been the same thing like friend.From the author Victor Hugo he explained on society is a republic. Well it’s referring
Reflection On The Crucible
The Crucible book written by Arthur Miller based on a real life story that happened in 1692 to 1693 In Salem Massachusetts was based on lies and injustice, genre is play, The author's purpose is to inform the audience about what happened during the witch trials . The Salem Village was full Puritans and they was very strict based on church rules. People that missed church regularly will be justified as a witch or malignant and will be put to shame on a stockade. People that break the rules of the
Significance Of The Crucible
Another book read and added to Goodreads, but why was The Crucible chosen to be read in class? What is the importance? This book gives so many lesson. The title gives so many key aspects that are still applied to today. The Crucible by Arthur Miller fits its name because of the conflicts the story contains and how it can connect still today with the “crucibles” such as revenge and pride we face. A crucible can be defined in two definitions and one being, a piece of laboratory equipment used to hold
Hysteria In The Crucible
Arthur Miller, author of The Crucible written in 1953, betrays hysteria among the people in Salem. The type of society in The Crucible is completely different to today's. Social media has taken an overwhelming role in the way people think about the world today. The media has created an unnecessary fear in everyone based on what In today’s society, social media has allowed people to communicate faster, resulting in hysteria. Hysteria was a main factor in several accusations of witchcraft that occurred
Superstitions In The Crucible
Crucible Superstitions Arthur Miller based his novel, The Crucible, on a true set of events that occurred in Salem, Massachusetts, in the year 1692. Salem had become a town where neighbors and enemies would blame each other of witchcraft, without actual evidence to support their accusations. Most of the accusations led to the victim being guilty. If the Puritans thought you were guilty, you had to either confess or be hanged. The Puritans believed that if you confessed, God would forgive you, which
The Crucible In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, Abigail Williams will do whatever it takes to win John Proctor over Elizabeth. Abigail is known for stirring up trouble. Will she win? In The Crucible, Abigail Williams is the villain of the play, she is manipulative towards her friends, the townspeople and causes the lives of others. Abigail is the reason for the starting of the Salem witch trials. In Act one of The Crucible, Abigail has an affair with John Proctor. Abigail, her friends, and
Mccarthyism In The Crucible
In Arthur Miller 's powerful play The Crucible, written in 1953 as a allegory and metaphor for the McCarthy hearings on communism in America, the idea of conscience is greatly emphasized in many of the main characters. Arthur Miller wrote the play The Crucible in response to the red scare of the 1950’s, in which he was was condemned for disrespect & disapproval of the United States Congress for being unsuccessful in naming numerous individuals who had attended meetings with him. In a bid to not
Fate In The Crucible
regarded as successful unless at its end the main character meets a fate that seems to be the natural result of what he has done or shown himself to be. Show how this statement is true in The Crucible. Every dramatic play has a tragic hero with a twisted fate. John Proctor is the hero of a play called The Crucible by Arthur Miller. John is a decent man who lives with his wife, Elizabeth Proctor, in Salem, Massachusetts during the 17th century. Miller writes based on the popular interests of the people
Evidences In The Crucible
The play The Crucible, created by Arthur Miller, gives people a mixed feeling about society in early America. The play applied to everyday life in modern society where power and money drive people crazy and they willing to do whatever it took to gain benefits for themselves. Presidential debate is where people tried to do just that, they often tell lies to give other candidates a bad reputation so the people could vote for them because of their amazing promises. The play The Crucible was wrote more
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The Crucible Essays
A major role in the crucible – john proctor.
John Proctor performed a major role in The Crucible by Arthur Miller. His character developed in various ways which affected the plot of the story. Proctor was involved in a scandalous affair with the Reverend’s niece, Abigail Williams. This incident unfolded a series of unfortunate events, the Salem witch trials. Throughout this literature piece, Proctor goes through conflicts, characteristic growths, and decisions. John Proctor has to undergo many obstacles in The Crucible. One of which is the affair of Abigail […]
Power and Authority in the Crucible
In Arthur Miller’s captivating play, The Crucible, the Salem Witch Trials were examined during 1693 and 1694. Through this play, we can see how powerless people have become powerful. This essay will be describing the trasition from powerless to powerful or the other way around, based off of the Salem Witch Trials. Empowerment plays a crucial role in the development of a powerful person. The audience realizes that the role of adversity has helped the powerless to become powerful. In […]
Differences between the Crucible Movie and the Play
The famous play The Crucible by Arthur Miller and the movie The Crucible may share the same name but have many differences, whether it’s the characters and how they act, or the way the scene changes, or in this example how the completely focus the story on something else. There was many additional scenes, or moods, in the movie that was not expressed in the play. Starting with Abigail being naked in the woods and not Mercy, then Abigail’s feelings […]
The Crucible the Effect of Salem on Reverend Hale
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is a play that takes place in the 1690’s during the infamous witch trials. Reverend Hale, a minister from East Hanover, is sent to Salem to exercise his expertise on the demonic arts and witchcraft. When Hale arrives in Salem, he discovers the town in total calamity. Hale is sent to help remove the source of this chaos but is dragged in instead. In the play, Reverend Hale’s change from immensely confident to defeatedly remorseful becomes […]
How is Reputation Shown in the Crucible
Reputation is the way that other people perceive you. Integrity is the way you perceive yourself. Abigail wanted to protect her reputation and Integrity so, she went around Salem and accused others of being involved with witchcrafts. A bad reputation on others can result in social or physical punishment. In The Crucible, people in Salem used accusations of witchcraft to destroy the reputation of their enemies. Abigail Williams lies and manipulates her friends and the entire town causing innocent people […]
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Similarities and Difference the Crucible Play and Movie
Over many years many movies have been based upon famous plays or even books. Sometimes these movies succeed in exaggeration of the plays images and thoughts for the play or book. The play by Arthur Miller, The Crucible and the movie have many similarities and differences. These all help change the plot, characters, and mood for the play which have been set into the movie. For starters, usually a movie is far different from the play or book it originally […]
John Proctor the True Tragic Hero
Every tragic hero has an encouraging future until some fatal flaw or lapse in judgement shrouds all of their actions, leading to their eventual demise. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, John Proctor is no exception to this statement; he succumbs to his death because of a failure in reasoning. Another one of John’s characteristics that leads him to be labeled as the tragic hero of The Crucible is his relatable tragic flaw, which is also known as his hamartia. In […]
7 Deadly Sins in the Crucible
The Crucible is a play based on the Salem witch trials that happened in 1693, in Massachusetts. This play was written by Arthur Miller. The characters in the play portray some of the actual people who were afflicted during the trials. Many of the characters represented some of the Seven Deadly Sins. The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, envy, lust, anger, sloth, gluttony, and covetousness. This play is full of sinners and full of sinful nature and all seven of […]
The Crucible is an Sllegory of the Red Scare
Section I: Introduction Arthur Miller’s, The Crucible, is an allegory of the Red Scare that impacted society mentally, physically, and spiritually. The play displayed a series of abnormal occurrences that followed a similar social and political fallout that was seen prior in the seventeenth century. It was also a means to represent the ridiculous and mob-mentality constructed accusatory atmosphere that suffocated the 1950’s during which it was written. The play itself, The Crucible, follows the tragic historical events that took […]
Why is Abigail to Blame in the Crucible
In the play, The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, the author argues/ implies that people can be easily manipulated by fear. The character, Abigail has many faults. In this paper I will explain if Abigail deserved the blame for the outcome. I will also support my argument with evidence from the play. Abigail has so many faults. Some of her faults are she craves attention, affection, interfering with others relationships, selfish, manipulative, and an amazing lair. She craves attention by influencing […]
John Proctor’s Pride in the Play the Crucible
A tragedy is an event that leads to one’s affliction and downfall. That’s the case in the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller. The Crucible took place in Salem, MA in the 1960s. It’s about how a group of girls dancing in the forest led to a full-on witch trial investigation. This play is an allegory which means its a story told on two levels. The first time period is the Salem Witch Trials and the second is the time […]
Symbolism in the Crucible
What does The Poppet, John Proctor and Witchcraft? Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose. In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, it focuses on chaos of the Salem Witch Trials. In the play, young Abigail Williams had an affair with her former employee, John Proctor. As a result, John’s wife, Elizabeth, fired Abby thus placing a wedge between the married couple. Abigail, not one to be scorned, set out to make matters right. […]
Fear and Misinformation in the Crucible
In the Crucible, the Salem witch trials was shown in a fictional matter. But still had inspiration from the real event and the hysteria known as the Red Scare. In the book, it shows how fear and misinformation can cause major repercussions, hysteria, and cause a whole town to turn on each other. In this essay, I will identify who gets blamed for what happened in Salem. I also will defend the main antagonist Abigail Williams. Firstly, in Act 1 […]
The Crucible and the Conflicts the Characters
Selfishness is one of the many evils in a man or a woman, perhaps is the worst. The evil or vengeance a person wants to payback often has something that’ll come back to you if it’s done. In the book called, The Crucible, by Arthur Miller uses the character to shows flaws, that actions have consequences. The cause and effects of the characters had done something and in return, something is good or bad. John Proctor’s flaw is lust; he […]
Tituba and other Social Outcasts in the Crucible
The Crucible is a play that’s about the Salem Witch Trials which took place in Massachusetts Bay Colony during 1692. A town minister named Reverend Samuel Parris discovered his young daughter Betty Parris age 10 as well as his niece Abigail Williams dancing in the forest with other girls and a slave named Tituba. Young Betty falls into a deep sleep after being discovered by her father. Rumors surfaced that the girls were playing around with witchcraft. Families and other […]
The Hunger for Power and an Impact on a Person’s Life in the Crucible
Power doesn’t corrupt people, people corrupt power (William Gaddis). Puritanism was a powerful religious, social, and political order in New England colonial life. In a Puritan society, humans wanted to reform the Christian church and believed that the devil had servants that worked for him on Earth. Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, explains the persecution of persons falsely accused of being witches in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. The play portrays power and how that power shifts among the characters. It […]
The Crucible as an Allegory to McCarthyism
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible seems to be historical fiction at first glance; it is, in its simplest state, a dramatic retelling of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. However, a close reading of the play leads us to conclude that The Crucible deviated from the real historical narrative accuracies quite a bit. This is not a failure of storytelling or a symptom of laziness on Miller’s part; it is rather a symptom of the artistic liberties taken by Miller in […]
How is the Crucible an Allegory for Mccarthyism
In the 1940s to the 1950s, America was extremely concerned about the rise of Communism throughout Europe and China. US Senator Joseph McCarthy entered the spotlight by accusing members of the State Department to be communists. This began the McCarthy Era, and this practice was later known as “McCarthyism”. Miller was soon later accused by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) who led the accusations with McCarthy. In the play, The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, Miller uses allegory to […]
About Risks in the Crucible
The Crucible has many significant themes, but the risks and rewards that go along with having power and greed are proven in how Arthur Miller portrays his characters. One of the characters, Abigail shows how being selfish and power hungry gets her nowhere. Miller also shows how the whole community supports that men are more powerful than women. Then lastly, Reverend Parris is more concerned with his reputation than his own family. Although many of the characters have influence within […]
John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s Drama
John Proctor is the protagonist in Arthur Miller’s drama about witchcraft in Salem, The Crucible. He is a well-regarded man in the community who commits adultery and is found guilty of witchcraft. Throughout the play, he is strongly conflicted between the desire to act upon self-interest and the desire to be a moral man. This contrast encompasses Miller’s message that one must search within oneself to do what is right and not what is expedient. There are many instances in […]
About Witchcraft in the Crucible
The Crucible is mainly about witchcraft. Witchcraft is the practice of magic, especially black magic. With this magic you can use spells and the innovation of spirits. People have gone insane believing that witchcraft is happening in their town. People start accusing others for witchcraft and once that is said, your life’s on the line. Victims have to go through court and then later on the guilty people are in the process of being hung. Their is a movie based […]
Has Society Really Changed?
“A fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer! I see this filth face. And it is my face, and yours, Danforth! For them to quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you know in all your black heart’s that this is fraud. God damns our kind especially. And we will burn, we will burn together!” (Arthur Miller) (Act III Pg. 596-601) John Proctor believes that the devil (if […]
The Crucible as an Allegory of the Witch Trial
With more than 200 people accused and 20 people executed, the Salem Witch trials became a serious case that lasted throughout history inspiring authors like Arthur Miller to write a play based on this issue. Miller wrote The Crucible as an allegory of the Witch Trials to compensate for the problems that he faced during the Mccarthy Era. His main goal was to present the issues of the Hollywood ten to the public; in order to do so, Miller changed […]
The Play and the Movie – the Crucible
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 them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name! – Arthur Miller, The Crucible. The play and the movie have quite a few differences. There may be differences but it still conveys the same message. In the […]
How Fear for a Penalty Can Destroy a Community
Puritans believed that the Bible was God’s true law that it provided a plan for living, and that those who didn’t follow would be cruelly punished for sins they had committed. However, their religion was so strict that it caused Puritans to have a very narrow range of acceptable behavior. The Puritans cared more for moral behavior and they took their laws from the Bible, rather than English precedent. In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible seems to be the corrupting […]
One of the Main Characters in the Play “The Crucible”
In the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller, John Proctor, one of the main characters in his mid-thirties, was overly prideful in his name and reputation. To start, John Proctor had a previous affair with a 17- year- old girl named Abigail. When John revealed this to his wife Elizabeth, whom he has three sons with, she was very upset and on the edge. So, when Abigail was put on trial for previous accusations, Elizabeth wanted John to go testify […]
The Court of Salem in the Crucible
The Crucible is a play written by Arthur Miller based on the Salem Witch Trials that took place around the late 1600’s. During this time period, in Salem especially, it is very important that the people of the community were holy and lived according to God’s will. For example, you must know your Ten commandments in order to keep bad suspicions off your back. Although, even that will not be enough if you are accused of conjuring the devil. In […]
About a Dramatized the Crucible by Arthur Miller
It is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story of the real life Salem Witch Trials that took place in Salem, Massachusetts during 1692- 1693. Many innocent people were wrongfully accused of witchery and put on trial for things that they didn’t commit. Many of those people were punished simply because they didn’t want to confess to lies and weren’t going to be manipulated. Some characters of the play include John Proctor who is often referred to as the protagonist, and […]
Women in Salem in the Crucible
Here in the play, John Proctor is attempting to appeal to the logistical aspect of the issue at hand, which is that many innocent women in Salem have been accused and arrested for witchcraft. He is characterized by his honesty, bluntness and is an overall good man, except for one issue. He’s a lecherer. He had an affair with Abigail Williams while she was working in his home. She no longer works there, and John has tried to get the […]
The Crucible Final Essay
Arthur Miller believes that the idea of tragedy is often misinterpreted. Many people believe that in a tragedy a person in the play must die unexpectedly for the person that they love. He sees that In “The Crucible” his intention was not to rewrite the history of the Salem Witch Trials but to create characters to show how people were falsely accused and have been hung as a result. He also shows characters who are very courageous. Within his quote […]
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Essay About The Crucible Have your morals and values ever changed after you went through a tough situation? Character development is defined as the collective observable changes in an individual’s defining characteristics over the course of a narrative. Characters in a play, book, or even a TV show are faced with tough situations that are hard to overcome. Many times, these tough situations change the character’s perspective on life. In the play, The Crucible, John Proctor faced many challenges that ultimately altered his view on life. In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, John Proctor undergoes several changes as he grapples with personal and moral dilemmas. John Proctor develops over time from immoral to remorseful. In the beginning of the play, John Proctor is described as immoral. He committed adultery in a very strict religious community. John is also very stubborn when it comes to religion. This accusation can be explained with the quote, “I have trouble enough without I come five mile to hear him preach only hellfire and bloody damnation” (Miller, 16) which proves that Proctor did not think very highly of Reverend Parris’ sermons. He would not go to church because he felt as though God did not exist anymore and that Reverend Parris was not a very religious man, so he should not be listening to him. John Proctor even said, “I say, I say, God is dead!” (Miller, 71) which tells us that he does not think God exists anymore. This was very frowned upon in the Salem village. By the end of the play, John Proctor can be seen as a remorseful man. He feels very bad about cheating on his wife with Abigail. Proctor even begins to change his views and opinions about Abigail. Proctor says, “She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat. But it is a whore’s vengeance, and you must see”(Miller, 66). He begins to see Abigail for who she really is. Proctor has displayed the virtue of courage by the end of the play because he is sticking up for what he believes in and he is not being a hypocrite anymore. Proctor’s decision to finally tell the truth about everything resolves his conflicts because he is not holding anything in anymore. In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, John Proctor undergoes several changes as he grapples with personal and moral dilemmas. John Proctor develops over time from immoral to remorseful. John realized that owning up to his mistakes was the best thing that he could do for himself. This was a major theme for the play, The Crucible. Arthur Miller wants readers to realize and understand that everyone makes mistakes no matter how good of a person they may be. The most important thing is that you own up to your mistakes and that you will actually learn from them.
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Essays on The Crucible
The themes of revenge, power of lies and reputation in "the crucible" by arthur miller.
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John Proctor - a Tragic Hero in The Crucible
"the crucible" by arthur miller: fear is something to be feared, self-reflection, responsibility for mistakes, and the power of integrity in "the crucible" by arthur miller, character of abigail williams in the crucible, causes and effects of john proctor and abigail williams' affair, analysis of the character of john proctor in the crucible by arthur miller, analysis of john proctor as tragic hero in "the crucible" by arthur miller, review of the key themes of "the crucible" and "year of wonders", the theme of society's power in the crucible and death of a salesman, "the crucible" as an allegory of the "red scare" of the 1950s in america, review of the play "the crucible" by arthur miller, the themes of lies, revenge, and cries of witchcraft in "the crucible" by arthur miller, depiction of envy in the crucible play, reverend hale's evolution in "the crucible" by arthur miller, role of abigail williams in the crucible by arthur miller, uncertain political agendas: a look at historical figures in atwood and miller, the "weights" of the world: a central motif in "the crucible" by arthur miller, the image of mccarthyism and mass hysteria in the crucible, john proctor from "the crucible": character analysis, a study of people and politics in the crucible and citizenfour, the idea of conscience in "the crucible" by arthur miller, the impact of power on abigail williams in the crucible by arthur miller, the changing temper of john proctor in the crucible, a play by arthur miller, the crucible versus mccarthyism: a comparative analysis, reverend parris's traits of selfishness in the crucible, the theme of lie in "the crucible", a play by arthur miller, breaking down the value of 'subtext' in the crucible by a. miller and much ado about nothing by w. shakespeare, oppression in the crucible , the review of the crucible, feeling stressed about your essay.
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January 22, 1953, Arthur Miller
Abigail Williams, Reverend John Hale, Reverend Samuel Parris, John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor, Thomas Danforth, Mary Warren, John Hathorne, Giles Corey, Rebecca Nurse
McCarthyism allegory, which stands for the American prosecution of people accused of being communists.
Intolerance, Puritanism, Reputation, Hysteria, Goodness, Judgment
Historical reference to the Salem witch trials, which became a mental mirror of political hysteria.
It is based around a fictional story that speaks of Salem witch trials that take place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony with the young village girls being accused of witchcraft. As the girls are being caught by the local minister after being seen with the black slave named Tituba, one of the girls falls into a coma, which is seen as witchcraft. This Salem witch trial acts as the allegory of people being accused of Communist views.
One of the key themes in The Crucible is the aspect of goodness because every character in the book is concerned about religious factors and the ways how they will be judged by God after they die. It brings out a distorted view in terms of how far a person can go by accusing others or giving prompts of someone’s being wrong or bad. As the topics of conspiracy and being a silent witness clash in the book, it shows various comparisons of the Bay Colony to post WW2 society and the influence of the Communists. It can be approached as a reflection that one should use when thinking of what being honest and “finding one’s goodness” means.
FBI wanted the author to change one of his screenplays to make his script PRO-American by not making gangsters look like Communists. Miller's friends were also persecuted as they were asked to name those people they knew who could be the Communists. Miller tried to use as many facts as he could when speaking of Salem in 1692. The linguistic that is used in the play was converted to various speech patterns that have been used in the past and the territory. The Crucible did not have Broadway success in the beginning. Arthur Miller's passport was denied in Europe as he was told to leave since his views were against the national interests. The play has turned Salem into a popular tourist destination.
"Until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven." "I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another. I have no tongue for it." "It is rare for people to be asked the question which puts them squarely in front of themselves." "A child's spirit is like a child, you can never catch it by running after it; you must stand still, and, for love, it will soon itself come back." "We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!"
It is an important subject when writing about inconsistencies and judgment in our society. The Crucible is a great reflection of various political agendas, religion, and social bias. Reading through the play, we are also looking at ourselves, which is why the book can be compared to any social injustice or any act where stereotypes have been used. You can use this book as a way to implement quotes when comparing anything from cheating to honesty.
Abigail Williams, the main protagonist, had an affair with John Proctor.
1. Salisbury, N. (2004). In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692. By Mary Beth Norton.(New York: Knopf, 2002. 436 pp. $30.00, isbn 0-375-40709-X.). (https://academic.oup.com/jah/article-abstract/91/1/201/762359) 2. Andrews, D. (2003). Mary Beth Norton, In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002. vii 436 pp. ISBN 0-375-40709-X. Itinerario, 27(2), 177-179. (https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/itinerario/article/abs/mary-beth-norton-in-the-devils-snare-the-salem-witchcraft-crisis-of-1692-new-york-alfred-a-knopf-2002-vii-436-pp-isbn-037540709x/6A82CB362650054F3A059109B7C04FAA) 3. Budick, E.M. (1985). History and Other Spectres in Arthur Miller's The Crucible. Modern Drama 28(4), 535-552 (https://muse.jhu.edu/pub/50/article/498714/summary) 4. Popkin, H. (1964). Arthur Miller's" The Crucible". College English, 26(2), 139-146. (https://www.jstor.org/stable/373665) 5. Curtis, P. (1965). The Crucible. Critical Review, 8, 45. (https://www.proquest.com/openview/5dd8ecd8022057c725bea9b694347a10/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1817655) 6. Gerstle, G. (2017). American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9781400883097/html#APA) 7. Miller, T. (2023). The Crucible: McCarthyism and a Historical View of Witch Hunts. Humanities. (https://owlcation.com/humanities/The-Crucible-McCarthyism-and-a-Historical-View-of-Witch-Hunts) 8. Aziz, A. (2016). Using the past to intervene in the present: spectacular framing in Arthur Miller's The Crucible. New Theatre Quarterly, 32(2), 169-180. (https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/new-theatre-quarterly/article/abs/using-the-past-to-intervene-in-the-present-spectacular-framing-in-arthur-millers-the-crucible/8B437FE241799B43CF0F11838CC4D7E1) 9. Martin, R.A. (1977). Arthur Miller's The Crucible: Background and Sources. Modern Drama 20(3), 279-292. (https://muse.jhu.edu/pub/50/article/502227/summary)
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The Crucible Essay
Accuracy Of The Crucible
The Crucible, a play written by Arthur Miller in 1952, tells of the Salem Witch Trials and what the Puritan people endured. The story mainly focuses on the accusers, afflicted, and the accused showing how they got away with what they stated to the court as well as how the accused plead their innocence. The Crucible follows very distinct parts of the Salem Witch Trials, some of which are very accurate, and others which are morphed to fit the storyline. Miller changes the details or leave them out in order to make The Crucible more logical and understanding to the reader on top of making it more interesting to add to the plot. .Although The Crucible includes the same basic events as the Salem Witch Trials, upon further examination it is clear…
The Crucible Synthesis
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Mccarthyism And The Crucible
Arthur Miller, the playwright of The Crucible, once said, “I think the tragic feeling is invoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing -- his sense of personal dignity.” This quote relates to The Crucible because John Proctor, a man who was accused of being a witch, and many others had lost their dignity after being accused. Also during the Red Scare, many people lost their dignity after being accused. The Crucible…
The Crucible And Mccarthyism
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Themes In The Crucible
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Manipulation In The Crucible
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Subplot The Crucible
A great author once said, “Until an hour before the Devil fell God thought him beautiful in heaven”-Arthur Miller. This directly connects to The Crucible by Arthur Miller because this quote came directly from the book. The purpose of this book is directly conveyed through the use of dramatic irony, dialogues, and a powerful, interesting subplot. In The Crucible many people are accused of senseless accusations of witchcraft. In the end many lives are ruined and lost, also many shocking…
The Consequences In The Crucible
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Mccarthyism The Crucible
Literary Analysis of The Crucible During the 1950s, McCarthyism ran rampant throughout the United States. The act of accusing many political figures of belonging to the communist party is defined as McCarthyism. Today, it is often compared to a “Political Witch Hunt.” Author Arthur Miller was one of the political figures named for being a communist. Rather than allowing McCarthyists to defile his name entirely, he decided to fight back by writing a book to shed light on the injustice…
Analysis Of 'The Crucible'
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The Crucible by Arthur Miller
October 23, 2020
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This blog was updated on 23/10/2020.
2. Historical Context
3. Character Analysis
5. Symbols and Motifs
6. Quote Analysis
7. Sample Essay Topics
8. Essay Topic Breakdown
The Crucible is usually studied in the Australian curriculum under Area of Study 1 - Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .
The Crucible , Arthur Miller’s 1953 realist play, is based on the historical events of the 1692 Salem witch hunts. Although partially fictionalised, it depicts the very real consequences of false accusations based on blind religious faith , as Miller displays the dangers of such baseless rumours. However, the play was written during another type of witch hunt: McCarthyism in 1950s America. This was a political movement in which Senator Joseph McCarthy attempted to control the spread of Communism by placing any Communist sympathisers on a blacklist. This resulted in a widespread fear of Communist influences, and a political hunt similar to the Salem witch trials began, as civilians attempted to escape their own charges by accusing other innocent individuals of treason. Thus, given the historical context of the time, Miller uses The Crucible as an allegorical warning for the audience against the dangers of McCarthyism in 1950s America.
These concepts will be fully unpacked later, but it is important to keep these key notions of hysteria, accusation and blind faith in mind as you study the text. These are the fundamental ideas that the play is based upon, and also the elements which make The Crucible hugely relevant in our society today. One could even say that the development of technology has made it easier for false allegations and social rumours to spread - leading to drastic consequences specific to the 21st century, such as the leaking of critical government information and cyberbullying. Not to mention, the anonymity of technology has enabled individuals to start modern-day witch hunts as a nameless, faceless user behind the comfort and security of their screens!
- Historical Context
In varying degrees, every work of literature reflects its historical context , or the social and political conditions that shaped its time period. The Crucible is a four-act play, which presents a dramatised and partially fictionalised depiction of the 1692 Salem witch trials. It was also published in 1953, at the height of the Second Red Scare, or the heightened fear of Communist influences in America. As such, the play is not merely a play based on historically accurate events, but also an allegory of the disastrous consequences of McCarthyism.
Proctor is a strong and hardworking farmer, respected by those in Salem for his power and independence. Possessing a “sharp and biting way with hypocrites”, Proctor is the symbol of autonomous leadership in the play, acting as another source of social authority to the theocratic leaders of the Puritan Church. He is the protagonist of the play, but a flawed individual - while he has great strength of character, he is also presented in The Crucible as an adulterous husband, who is openly defiant of his church. As such, he is described by Miller as a kind of “sinner” - one who experiences an internal moral conflict within himself. Proctor undergoes much personal growth during the plot of the play, redeeming his name and obtaining “goodness” by choosing moral honesty over freedom. This ultimate act of courage symbolises the importance of integrity and honour , and represents the “shred of goodness” in his character.
Although described by Abigail as a “bitter woman”, Elizabeth is the quiet yet resilient wife of Proctor. Her husband’s affair with Abigail renders her resentful towards the former and jealous of the latter, resulting in a wounded and fragile marriage. Her humility is made evident as she blames herself for Proctor’s infidelity, believing she erred in keeping a “cold house”. In tandem with this icy imagery , Miller utilises Elizabeth as a symbol of honesty and strict moral justice , despite it often being mistaken as “coldness” by others - Proctor asserts that Elizabeth’s justice “would freeze beer”. Despite this, Elizabeth proves herself to be a caring source of support for her persecuted husband, believing him to be “a good man”, and ultimately breaking her characteristic honesty in the hopes of his freedom. Her extreme courage is ultimately made evident by her willingness to lose Proctor to the hangman’s noose, rather than for him to lose his moral virtue by signing his name to lies.
Described as “a wild thing”, Abigail is a beautiful, yet manipulative and deceptive adolescent with “an endless capacity for dissembling”. Still in love with Proctor after their brief affair, she lies to the court and condemns Elizabeth as a witch, in a desperate, jealous attempt to win him back and take Elizabeth’s place as his wife. Abigail is the ringleader of the girls, and the progenitor of the false rumours that spiral into the witch hunt. Thus, she embodies falsehood , in a stark contrast to Elizabeth, who is a symbol of truth. Her violent nature is made evident in the play, as she threatens the girls with physical violence and “smashes Betty across the face” in an effort to silence her. Despite this, Miller makes clear that Abigail is a victim of psychological trauma , as she is revealed to have borne witness to the violent death of her parents - partly explaining her disturbed and devious nature.
Mary Warren is a sullen, sensitive and easily manipulated servant of the Proctor household. Her volatile nature makes her an easy target for Abigail, who manipulates her into betraying the Proctors by planting a poppet in Elizabeth’s room, which ultimately becomes the leading evidence in her sentencing. Mary is a symbol of mass hysteria , as her easily exploitable nature and weakness in spirit represent the irrationality of those who are quick to believe rumours, such as the persecutors of the Salem witch hunts, as well as the accusers of the McCarthy era.
Susanna Walcott, Mercy Lewis, Betty Parris
Referred to as “the girls” throughout the play, these young individuals are manipulated by Abigail to falsely convict Elizabeth and numerous others as practicers of witchcraft. All of these girls possess a common fear of Abigail, and carry out her orders in an attempt to evade their own punishment at her hands. Thus, Miller uses them to emphasise his allegory of the McCarthy trials , in which numerous people accused others of Communism based on their own fear of being charged by the Court.
Mass hysteria is one of the most significant themes of the play, as Miller depicts the entire town of Salem engulfed by the superstition of witchcraft and devil-worship. The community-wide fear of consorting with the devil is shown to overwhelm any kind of rational thought . As one rumour created by Abigail and the girls leads to dozens of incarcerations and executions in a matter of days, The Crucible depicts the “perverse manifestation of panic” that can occur from unsubstantiated fear . Miller uses this illustration of hysteria to show the effects of a strictly repressive Puritan society . Although some residents of Salem manipulate the witch hunt for their own benefit, such as Abigail, the majority of the townspeople are launched into the terror-fuelled “fever” by their genuine belief that the devil is running amok in Salem. The strict theocracy of the town thus exacerbates the crisis, as joining the accusatory crowd becomes a religious necessity ; a virtuous “plane of heavenly combat between Lucifer and the Lord”. As such, the play demonstrates how uncontrolled religious fervour can lead to the collective indoctrination of “black mischief”, where panic clouds all reason.
Judgement in The Crucible encompasses three meanings; the legal, personal, and spiritual . The legal judgement in the play is depicted as superficial - mainly illustrated through the characters of Hathorne and Danforth, the theocratical Salem court does not carry out real justice due to its dogmatic focus on its reputation . This is depicted by Danforth’s stubborn refusal to free the innocents accused, due to his belief that it would lead to a tainted esteem of the court. Thus, Miller suggests that the more important judgement is personal - exemplified by the character of Proctor. Believing himself to be a “sinner” against his own “version of moral conduct”, Proctor throughout the play shows limitless remorse and self-hatred for the hurt he has caused Elizabeth by his affair with Abigail. Miller shows the importance of forgiveness through self-judgement , as Elizabeth assures Proctor that there is “no higher judge under Heaven” than Proctor himself, and he ultimately is able to forgive himself and see the “shred of goodness” within him by the end of the play. Furthermore, The Crucible depicts the town of Salem overcome by the fear of God’s judgement, or what Proctor calls “God’s icy wind” . The events of the play unfold due to the town’s collective fear of the higher power of an “Almighty God”. As Hale proclaims, “Before the laws of God we are as swine!”, Miller showcases the extent of the fearsome “power of theocracy” in circumstances of confusion and hysteria .
The events of the Salem witch trials detail various types of accusation. Although all are disguised as the dispelling of witchcraft, the false allegations depicted in the play are carried out with a range of different motives . For example, Abigail’s accusation of Elizabeth as a witch is described to derive from a “whore’s vengeance” due to her passionate jealousy of Elizabeth’s position as Proctor’s wife, and Abigail’s wish to take her place. Similarly, Rebecca Nurse’s charge of “murdering Goody Putnam’s babies” is due to the Putnams’ resentment and jealousy of her numerous children, while they themselves have lost babies “before they could be baptised”. In contrast to this, the accusation of Martha Corey, Giles' wife, of witchcraft is motivated by Walcott’s desire for revenge , as he resents her for the unhealthy “pig he bought from her five years ago”. Thus, his actions are calculative rather than passionate - a cruel attempt to get “his money back”. In his employment of the play as a historical allegory , this depiction of the blind following of rampant accusations depicted in The Crucible represents the similarly irrational proceedings of the McCarthy trials, many of which were carried out without substantial evidence.
Honour and Integrity
Honour is one of the most prominent themes in the play, as the majority of the characters strive to maintain their reputations in society . Miller depicts a community in which private and public characters are one and the same, and the consequences of the obsessive desire to uphold the esteem of their name. For example, although Proctor has the chance to undermine the girls’ accusations by revealing Abigail as a ‘whore’, he does not do so in order to protect his good name from being tarnished . Likewise, Parris at the beginning of the play threatens Abigail and the girls due to his fear that hints of witchcraft will threaten his already precarious reputation in the church and banish him from the pulpit. Furthermore, the judges of Salem do not accept any evidence that could free the innocent accused, as they uphold a false reputation to honour the Puritan church. Despite this, Miller shows the importance of prioritising personal honour over public reputation through the character of Proctor. As he ultimately makes the valiant decision in Act IV to refrain from “signing lies” and thus uphold his name, he is able to redeem himself from his previous sins and is able to die with righteousness.
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Symbols and Motifs
A crucible is a ceramic or metal container in which metals, chemicals or other substances may be melted or subjected to very high temperatures. As such, Miller in the play employs the violent imagery of a crucible to symbolise the severe and challenging test of the Salem witch hunts . As spoken by Danforth in Act III, “We burn a hot fire in here; it melts down all concealment”, the motif of the crucible represents the merciless nature of both the Salem and McCarthy court proceedings , and their dogged determination to convict, despite the lack of substantial evidence. Crucibles are often used for the chemical process of calcination, during which particles are heated to high temperatures in order to purify them - removing any volatile substances from the compound. As such, Miller also suggests that societal challenges such as those depicted in the play can lead to situations in which the good can be separated from the evil ; as the town is split into those who are “with this court or…against it”, the witch hunts illustrate the distinction between the individuals who possesses moral integrity and those who manipulate the situation for their selfish pursuits .
In Act III, Abigail and the girls plant a poppet, or doll, in Elizabeth’s house, in an attempt to frame her as an individual guilty of witchcraft. As Abigail stabs the doll with a needle in its stomach before leaving it on Elizabeth’s shelf, she is able to pretend that her own stomach is injured from Elizabeth’s practice of voodoo with it. The poppet is a symbol of childhood and girlhood , and the play’s depiction of it as a tool for malicious revenge represents the loss of innocence and pretence that arises out of the witch hunts . Miller illustrates the danger of mass hysteria , as he depicts the young group of girls, led by Abigail, become manipulated into condemning innocent townspeople to death; thereby losing their innocence and moral virtue . The poppet is also employed as a symbol of deception , as it emphasises the fact that the Salem persecutions are based on lies and falsehood . As the court ignores Elizabeth’s outraged protests that she has not kept a poppet since she was a little girl, Miller chastises a justice system which values convenient deceit over the cumbersome truth .
Although traditionally associated with knowledge and truth, the motif of paper in the play symbolises morality and individualism . Paper first appears in the play as the judicial list naming the condemned, then as a document of proof outlining Proctor’s alleged crimes as a practicer of witchcraft and agent of the devil. As such, paper initially symbolises the false accusations that run rampant in Salem , and the destructive consequences of such on the lives of the accused innocents. This idea is furthered by Miller’s depiction of the signed, “seventy-two death warrants” of innocents, illustrating paper as a symbol of the unjust punishment and corruption within the Salem court . It is only when Proctor refuses to sign the testimony or have his false confession “posted on the church door”, that the symbol of paper begins to serve as a motif of heroism . As Proctor ultimately refuses to “sign [his] name to lies”, then “tears the paper and crumples” the document denouncing him as a devil-consorter in Act IV, Miller portrays paper as a mode for personal redemption in the face of blind injustice . This advocating for personal salvation is supported by the character of Hale, who undergoes a similar transformation. Although initially described as an intellectual whose paper “books are weighted with authority”, this religious authority loses its value throughout the tragic events of the play, as the injustices of the court lead him to lose his “great faith” in God. Ultimately, like Proctor, Hale is only able to gain personal redemption through his realisation of the immoral nature of the court and his attempts (albeit unrealised) to save the remaining incarcerated innocents from the fate of the gallows.
"There are wheels within wheels in this village, and fires within fires!”
Ann Putnam speaks this line when she admits to interrogating Tituba about the possibility of witchcraft having caused the early deaths of her seven infants. The audience can perceive her hysteria , as she begins to fear that the rumours of devil worship in Salem may be true, and that she may also lose her last surviving child, Ruth. Her sense of paranoia works to foreshadow the mass hysteria that is to overwhelm the town. This quote is also a direct reference to the prophet Ezekiel in the Bible , who compares his vision of God in his chariot to a gyroscope - an instrument of stability and balance. As such, Mrs. Putnam’s allusion to God is a direct reference to the rigidity of the Puritan value s in Salem, disguised as a creed of “unity” , when in reality it’s the root cause of social paranoia and resentment . The quote also illustrates that she believes that there are more complex and intricate forces present in Salem - the “deep and darkling forces” as described by Miller - which work to determine the fates of the townspeople. Combined with its fire imagery , this quote effectively foreshadows the drama that will unfold in the Salem court, in which Abigail and the girls will invent invisible spiritual forces to accuse innocents, in a court of “hot fire”, acting to “melt down all concealment”.
“We cannot look to superstition in this. The Devil is precise; the marks of his presence are as definite as stone.”
Hale says this to Parris when he first arrives in Salem from Beverley, after he is asked to inspect Betty for signs of witchcraft or possession by the devil. Although Parris is already convinced by the rampant rumours in the town of the existence of the devil and its effect on his daughter, Hale (being a professional “investigator of witchcraft”) is more meticulous in his examination of such a “strange crisis”. By calling the devil “precise”, Hale depicts his true and unflinching belief in its existence, representing the inflexible Puritan mindset . This quote is integral to understanding Hale as a character, and thus the nature of his disillusionment later in the play, as it reveals that Hale does not believe in witchcraft due to the mass hysteria and paranoia of the town, but because he possesses genuine and resolute faith in every word of the Bible . As this faith is shown to “bring blood” later in the play, Miller displays the dangerous “power of theocracy” , as the audience perceives Hale becoming radically disillusioned in his religion and world view.
Sample Essay Topics
1. “For twenty week he preach nothin’ but golden candlesticks til he had them!” Are the leaders of the community misguided in The Crucible ? Discuss.
2. Miller uses fire and ice imagery in The Crucible to denounce the nature of humanity. Discuss.
3. ‘In The Crucible , the characters make decisions based solely on their emotions’. Do you agree?
Now it's your turn! Give these essay topics a go. For more sample essay topics, head over to our The Crucible Study Guide t o practice writing essays using the analysis you've learnt in this blog!
Essay Topic Breakdown
Whenever you get a new essay topic, you can use LSG’s THINK and EXECUTE strategy , a technique to help you write better VCE essays. This essay topic breakdown will focus on the THINK part of the strategy. If you’re unfamiliar with this strategy, then check it out in How To Write A Killer Text Response .
Within the THINK strategy, we have 3 steps, or ABC. These ABC components are:
Step 1: A nalyse
Step 2: B rainstorm
Step 3: C reate a Plan
Theme-Based Essay Prompt: In a theocracy, law and religion are bound together. What are the benefits and challenges of this depicted in The Crucible ?
Step 1: analyse .
Here, we are asked to examine the benefits and challenges of a theocratic system , as depicted in The Crucible . Thus, we must consider both the positive and negative aspects of the binding of law and religion . It is a good idea to delegate two paragraphs to the challenges and one to the benefits , due to the fact that Miller wrote the play with the authorial intention of denouncing the repressive rigidity of its government - this means it is easier to think of negatives rather than positives.
Step 2: Brainstorm
Let’s break down the term ‘ theocracy ’, as this is the focus of this essay topic. The play shows us various effects of such a system, but what does it actually mean? A theocracy is a form of government in which a religion (in this case, Puritanism) is recognised as the supreme ruling authority . Thus, as mentioned in the essay question, in a theocracy the rules of religion are treated as the law . Now, think of some of the words , phrases or key ideas you think of when you conjure up Salem’s version of theocracy. This may include:
- Strictness of Puritan values
- Unity vs. individualism
- Exploitation of the name of the church for personal gains
- Societal repression
- Superfluous power given to the court
- Opportunity for individuals to reform
- Social vs. individual redemption
Step 3: Create a Plan
When planning an essay, it is easy to let yourself go off track, discussing another point that is not quite relevant to the topic given. To prevent this from happening, always keep the topic firmly in your mind - glance at it periodically throughout your planning if needed, and check that every body paragraph that you are planning directly relates back to the topic and answers what it is asking . So, keeping the topic and its focus on theocracy firmly in mind, I chose to approach this essay with the following structured plan:
Paragraph 1 : The Salem theocracy leads to the unjust exercise of power , resulting in a tragedy .
- Here, our focus is on the overarching injustices that the theocratic nature of the government allows to occur .
- Focus on the fact that it is because religion is the law , that the crime of witchcraft (believed to be a crime against God) is so severely punished (by death!).
- Also discuss that it is due to the rigidity of the theocracy that any slight divergence from a complete adherence to Puritanism is perceived as a crime .
- Examples of this include the witch hunt itself, and the victimisation of innocents who are condemned to be executed for crimes that they did not commit.
Paragraph 2: The town’s theocratic belief in God is exploited by individuals who use it for their own personal gain .
- Our job here is to highlight the selfish natures of certain individuals, who take advantage of the townspeople’s theocratic mindsets to utilise the town’s mass hysteria for their own motives .
- Examples of such characters include Abigail and Parris , who participate in the witch hunt out of vengeance and fear respectively.
Paragraph 3: However, the theocratic nature of the government allows opportunity for reform, and the ability to distinguish between morality and immorality.
- Here we are discussing the benefit that arises out of the theocracy, namely the idea that the tragedy that results from such allow certain individuals to be enlightened and reformed .
- Emphasise the fact that the theocracy does lead to disastrous effects , but it is from this hardship that we are able to distinguish the characters of good from the characters of evil.
- An example of a character who undergoes reform is Hale , who becomes simultaneously disillusioned and enlightened by the tragedy of the Salem persecution.
- An example of an individual revealed by the events of the play to be ultimately immoral is Danforth , who refuses to change and reform , despite realising the injustice and cruelty of his actions.
If you find this essay breakdown helpful, then you might want to check out our The Crucible Study Guide where we cover 5 A+ sample essays with EVERY essay annotated and broken down on HOW and WHY these essays achieved A+ so you reach your English goals! Let's get started.
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5 Tips for a mic drop worthy essay conclusion
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- Learn how to brainstorm ANY essay topic and plan your essay so you answer the topic accurately
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We've curated essay prompts based off our All the Light We Cannot See Study Guide which explores themes, characters, and quotes.
LSG-curated All the Light We Cannot See Essay Topics
- Contrary to what the title might suggest, All the Light We Cannot See explores light more so than darkness. Is this true?
- How does Doerr’s narrative structure highlight the similarities and differences between Marie Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See?
- All the Light We Cannot See demonstrates that war brings out the best and worst in humanity. Discuss.
- Explore the forms of courage demonstrated in All the Light We Cannot See.
- What is the role of family in All the Light We Cannot See?
- Werner’s character is defined by his cowardly and harmful conformity to the Nazi regime. To what extent do you agree?
- All the Light We Cannot See is a warning against unethical and selfish scientific pursuits. Discuss.
- Who deserves our sympathy in All the Light We Cannot See and why?
- Throughout All the Light We Cannot See, various forms of guilt are shown to be emotionally crushing. Is this true?
- “Don’t you want to be alive before you die?” Explore the value and meaning of human life as evinced in All the Light We Cannot See.
- No character from All the Light We Cannot See is totally monstrous, just as no character is totally pure. Do you agree?
- In All the Light We Cannot See , Doerr suggests that nobody truly has agency over themselves. Discuss.
- More so than any other object, it is the radio which drives the plot of All the Light We Cannot See . Is this an accurate statement?
- All the Light We Cannot See posits that strength must come from within. Discuss.
- “Open your eyes and see what you can see with them before they close forever.” To what extent do characters exhibit this sentiment in All the Light We Cannot See ?
If you'd like to see a fully planned, written and annotated essay, see our All the Light We Cannot See Essay Topic Breakdown .
All the Light We Cannot See is usually studied in the Australian curriculum under Area of Study 1 - Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .
Breaking Down an All the Light We Cannot See Essay Prompt
We've explored themes and symbols and provided a summary of the text over on our All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr blog post. If you need a quick refresher or you’re new to studying this text, I highly recommend checking it out!
Here, we’ll be breaking down an All the Light We Cannot See essay topic using LSG’s THINK and EXECUTE strategy , a technique to help you write better VCE essays. If you’re unfamiliar with this strategy, you can learn about it in our How To Write A Killer Text Response study guide.
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
‘In All the Light We Cannot See there is a fine line between civilised and uncivilised behaviour.’ Discuss.
Step 1: Analyse
Taking a look at this prompt, the first thing to note is that it is theme-based. Specifically asking about the line that separates civilised and uncivilised behaviour within the novel, this prompt focuses directly on the theme of human behaviours and how you ultimately interpret the fine line (i.e. seamless, difficult, changing, manipulative) between such ideas. Fundamentally, you have to discuss how this theoretical line drawn between the contrasting behaviours is explored within the novel in various ways throughout Doerr’s examination of humanity.
The question tag of Discuss is the most flexible type of prompt/topic you will receive, providing you with a broad and open-ended route to pretty much discuss any ideas that you believe fit within the prompt’s theme of uncivilised and civilised behaviour. Although this may seem hard to know where to start, this is where Step 2: Brainstorm , comes into play. You can read through LSG’s Question Tags You Need To Know section (in How To Write A Killer Text Response ) to further familiarise yourself with various ways to tackle different prompt tags.
If you’re not sure what it is meant by ‘theme-based prompt,’ take a look at The 5 Types of Essay Prompts.
A fundamental aspect of writing a solid Text Response essay is being able to use a diverse range of synonyms for the keywords outlined in the prompt. Our keywords are in bold. When you are brainstorming, if any words pop into your head, definitely list them so you can use them later. You may want to have a highlighter handy when unpacking prompts so you can do just this!!
‘In All the Light We Cannot See there is a fine line between civilised and uncivilised behaviour .’ Discuss.
- How people have grown up determines the civil and uncivilised behaviours shown by individuals of different backgrounds and childhoods - Bastian is symbolised as the eagle that circles the youth camp, which is an uncivilised /unwanted form of hawk-like behaviour . This compares to Fredrick's love of birds as a young boy which makes him a softer character. - Bernd had ‘no friends’ as a child - showing his isolated past - which could be described as the reason he leaves his father and goes off to join the Hilter Youth ‘just like the other boys.’ (find this analysis in the chapter ‘The Death of Walter Bernd’)
- There is a fine line that Doerr draws between the stereotypes of women and their ability to remain civilised despite being suppressed by uncivil livelihoods and experiences. - Jutta is characterised as a strong and independent woman instead of the traditional ‘pretty girl in a propaganda poster’. Society expects most women to stand on that side of human behaviour and representation however she defies this.
- The strength of women to cross/overcome the line of uncivilised behaviour is significant within the sexual abuse and misconduct driven by soldiers. Can remain true to oneself despite the horrific behaviours a woman faces. - The role of women on the homefront (i.e. Fredrick’s Mother) highlights the stark contrast between men fighting and thinking about the ‘men they killed’ and mothers who put on a ‘fake smile to appear brave’ (the line between barbaric behaviours of many soldiers and caring/loving behaviours of those on the homefront) - women and their sacrifices is an important topic here
- It is one’s ability to adapt to change that draws the line between civil and uncivilised behaviours . - Marie Laure’s ability to look past being a ‘blind girl’, and move on from this hardship. She adapts to the ‘changing times’ around her despite others who are suppressed in such an environment (e.g. Etienne and his ‘dread’).
- The game of flying couch is a symbol of escaping the uncivilised world around them (metaphorical line of the human imagination). - Werner is predominantly overwhelmed by the world around him, which reflects his inability to no longer ask questions as he did as a young boy. Instead, he succumbs to the uncivilised world of death and destruction as he is unable to change.
- Symbolic use of Werner’s ‘soft covered notebook’ in epilogue - symbolises his loss of perspective and wonder of the world,
- Ultimately it is this line that makes the human existence so unique
After having brainstormed all the ideas that came to mind, I’ll be approaching the essay prompt with the following contention.
In a world where society is grounded by behaviours both civil and uncivil, there is a clear distinction between humanity's response and representation of these behaviours.
Coming up with a clear contention allows you to put together a cohesive and strong essay that answers all aspects of the prompt question.
Now, onto developing our topic sentences for each paragraph!
P1: Embedded within Doerr’s nonlinear narrative*, the environment in which individuals have grown up consequently influences their behaviours later in life.
*A nonlinear narrative is a storytelling technique Doerr uses to portray events out of chronological order.
P2: Encompassing the social paradigms that pervade a woman’s existence, the strength and civilisation of females allow them to traverse a line of unjust behaviours that suppress them.
P3: In essence, it is the human response to change that divides individuals from ultimately displaying civil or uncivil acts in the world.
The art of recognising the ephemera of the human existence is painted by Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See as a fine line between behaviours of civilisation and extreme brutality (1) . In the inordinate scheme of history, Doerr fosters the dichotomy between those who remain socially aware and others who are marred by desolation as a reflection on one's past. Further subverting the traditional depiction of women in a ‘war story’, the strength of women is established as a key turning point for individuals to escape barbaric behaviours and cross the line to civilisation. Fundamentally, however, it is the overall response to change that crafts human behaviours that Doerr underpins within society (2) .
Annotations (1) it is important to include synonym variation in your opening sentence to ensure that it does not look like you have just copied the prompt and placed it on your page. This idea should be carried out throughout your essay - vary your words and try not to repeat anything, this will ensure you are clear and concise!
(2) In order to improve the flow of your writing, the final topic sentence of your introduction can be a concluding statement on why/how the topic is OVERALL expressed within the novel. When you formulate your contention, it is not enough just to state it, you must also provide reasoning as to why you are writing from this point of view or how you came to this conclusion. For example, my final topic sentence here is a concluding sentence about how I believe a fine line between uncivilised and civil behaviour has an influence throughout the entire novel and Doerr’s intention, one’s response to change. As you read on, you’ll also see that this sentence relates to my final paragraph, thus linking together ideas throughout my essay.
Embedded within Doerr’s nonlinear narrative, the environment in which individuals have grown up consequently influences their behaviours later in life. The initial illustration of the ‘smokestacks hume’ and the ‘black and dangerous’ imagery (3) of the war paints a clear picture of the destruction and trauma that individuals have lived amongst, thus why people were ‘desperate to leave’. Empathising with an ‘old woman who cuddles her toddler’ on the streets, Doerr laments how young individuals who end up ‘surg[ing] towards one cause,’ which this toddler may similarly grow up to do in the Hitler Youth, directly reflects the ‘intense malice’ of their childhood. This idea that one’s past affects the future behaviours of a generation is further captured within the chapter ‘The Death of Walter Bernd’ (4) , which outlines how Bernd’s upbringing with ‘no friends’ promotes him to ‘just leave’, in order to experience something new, despite knowing this something new would bring unjust decisions into his life. Becoming ‘just like the other boys’, Doerr suggests that the line between civil and uncivil behaviours is so thin (5) that a mere need to escape one’s past is enough to create feelings of negativity and at worst death. Encapsulating the darkness that prevails over such individuals, the symbolism of Bastian’s ‘sharp eyes’ (6) poetically describes the eagle that circles the youth camp where Doerr seeks to paint a metaphorical cruel depiction of Bastian as a harmful hawk. Underpinning the fine line between human behaviour, Fredrick’s ‘love of birds’ is ‘so beautiful[ly]’ representative of his respectful nature and approach to life while Bastian’s immersion in ‘the self interest of the world’ ultimately explains how his fallacious behaviour towards others is embodied by his environment within the war. Overall, the behaviours displayed by humanity are a reflection of past experiences and how they shape the individual.
Annotations (3) Imagery is a key aspect of All the Light We Cannot See and goes hand in hand with the vast symbolism Doerr uses within his novel. When including imagery, it is great to include a few related quotes; however, you must then ensure you analyse and delve into how this technique (imagery) demonstrates the idea you are writing about. In this case, the imagery of the chimneys and foggy/dirty air illustrates the desolate environment individuals lived in during the war.
(4) This chapter is something not many students analyse or touch on so if you’re looking to add some spice to your writing I would definitely take a look and see what you can extract from some of those more unique and nuanced chapters!
(5) Referencing the ‘fine line’ continually throughout your essay ensures that you are staying on track and not talking about topics away from the prompt.
(6) Symbolism is very important in All the Light We Cannot See . The use of the quote ‘sharp eyes’, really shows that you have considered not only how Doerr simply explores the behaviour of each character but also the physical interpretations of how individuals may demonstrate a certain persona within the novel. This focus on character description on top of dialogue adds extra layers to your writing.
Encompassing the social paradigms that pervade a woman’s existence, the strength and civilisation of females allow them to traverse a line of unjust behaviours that suppress them. Instead of characterising Jutta as a ‘pretty girl in a propaganda poster’, whom the soldier will ‘fight and die for’, Doerr proffers the unconventional humanisation of women on the home front to pay tribute to the power of staying true to oneself (7) . Despite facing the barbaric reality of ‘sex crazed torturers’, Doerr illuminates Jutta’s capacity to ‘look them in the eye’ rather than shy away from them as a meditation on her own morals of (8) ‘what is right’. The tragic nature (9) of such abuse is specifically chronicled by Doerr to concatenate (10) the continual brave behaviours Jutta portrays even when succumbing to the line that attempts to draw women away from strength and independence. Further referencing her desire to ‘lock away memories’ of the past in her life after the war, the novel posits the importance of women during a period of inordinate history as a powerful force that remained civil even in times of ‘absolute blackness’. From the perspective of Fredrick’s mother, Doerr seeks to display how her ‘fake smile to appear brave’ outlines how many mothers and women had to remain strong for their children, such as Fredrick with brain damage, even though they were so close to falling into a world of sorrow and isolation. A clear segregation between soldiers who thought about ‘the men they killed’ and women who were made to ‘feel complicit in an unspeakable crime’ (11) they did not commit overall affirms the sacrifices women made during the war and without such sacrifices and strength the thin line between behavioural acts would be broken.
Annotations (7) Here I have included an analysis of Doerr’s message - what he is trying to say or show within his novel. Ultimately an author has a message they seek to share with the world. Providing your own interpretation of certain messages the author may be attempting to send to his readers adds real depth to your writing, showing that you are not only considering the novel itself but the purpose of the author and how this novel came to explore the fundamental ideas of the essay prompt.
(8) This quote directly relates to the keyword: civilised behaviour. Finding quotes that are also specific to your prompt is crucial to producing an essay that flows and has meaning.
(9) The use of adjectives within the essay paints the picture of whether an act is civil or uncivil which is ultimately what we are attempting to discuss from the prompt. Here the phrase ‘tragic nature’, underpins the essence of unjust behaviours shown by the soldiers.
(10) Concatenate - link/connect ideas together
(11) Comparing aspects within the novel is a great way to show your understanding and how the same theme or idea can be shown in many different ways.
In essence, it is the human response to change that divides individuals from ultimately displaying civil or uncivil acts in the world. Established by Marie Laure’s characterisation as a ‘blind girl’ who can ‘project anything onto the black screen of her imagination’, Doerr illuminates her ability to adapt to the ‘changing times’ around her. She is seen to be ‘carried away by reveries’ rather than a plethora of voices who ‘forgo all comforts’ and ‘eat and breathe nation’. Through the chapter and make-believe game ‘flying couch’ (12) , Marie’s nature to ‘surrender firearms’ with Etienne in their imagination is a symbolic adoption to escape the world around them, hence the uncivilised society they are learning to live in. Doerr’s congruent imagery of Etienne’s changing voice of ‘dread’ to ‘velvety’ as he becomes intertwined within ‘Marie’s bravery’ underpins the ability for individuals to seamlessly cross the line from a lack of cultured behaviour to a world of hope and prosperity. Contrasting this, however, Werner, an individual who was initially curious about ‘how the world works’, is so ‘overwhelmed by how quickly things are changing around [him]’ that his ‘interest in peace’ is stripped away and no longer exists due to his inability to change with a changing world. Doerr, therefore, laments the transmogrification of his character as a reflection of his uncivil thoughts and ideals as a soldier, ultimately resulting in his loss of ability to ask questions. This idea places emphasis on Volkheimer receiving Werner’s ‘soft covered notebook’ in the epilogue (13) where the translation of the book’s title ‘Fragen’ - to ‘ask’ in English - is symbolic of the moment Werner decided to ‘work, join, confess, die’ he immediately lost the open mind and curiosity he once had. Ultimately, the dichotomy between these two lives and their opposing character transformations resembles the line between remaining calm or acting out of haste when subject to change.
Annotations (12) Analysing not only the game but the whole meaning behind chapters and why Doerr has given them certain names is an interesting avenue to take. Here ‘flying couch’ not only underpins the imagination of Marie Laure but also symbolises freedom and bravery within just the name itself.
(13) The analysis and evidence used from the epilogue is a crucial part of this paragraph and is significant to Doerr’s novel. Unpacking All the Light We Cannot See , there is a lot of evidence and juicy ideas you can draw from the beginning and end of the novel. Here I have almost analysed the meaning of Werner’s ‘soft covered notebook’ to the bone; however, this adds a lot of depth to your writing as I’m sure your ultimate goal is to make your essays as unique as possible?!
As a project of humanism, Doerr seeks to portray a fine segregation in people's behaviours as the microcosm (14) of what makes the human existence so unique. Following the journeys of individuals who even ‘see a century turn’’ the novel displays how one’s past has an immense influence on how their future values, actions and behaviours grow and develop. Further subverting the stereotypical representation of women living in a war, Doerr establishes an acknowledgment of their roles and strength in the face of cruel situations. Ostensibly, it is the human capacity to adapt to change that marks the difference between what is just and unjust in a society that weighs both on a very unstable scale.
Annotations (14) Microcosm - a community, place or situation regarded as encapsulating in miniature the characteristics of something much larger.
If you find this essay breakdown helpful, then you might want to check out our All the Light We Cannot See Prompts blog post. You can have a go at those essay prompts and feel free to refer back to this essay breakdown whenever you need. Good luck!
It’s time your conclusions got the attention they deserve! So grab a massive piece of chocolate, a glass of water and prepare to be taught about the beginning of the end (of your essay, that is).
Having a rushed conclusion is like forgetting to lock your car after an awesome road trip- that one rushed decision could jeopardise the whole experience for your assessor. A mediocre conclusion is the same as powering through a 500 metre race then carelessly slowing down seconds before the finish line! Dramatic comparisons aside, the way you choose to end your text response either leaves the marker with a bad taste in their mouths or increases your chance of hitting a home run. On the other hand, if you’re feeling discouraged by how your essay has shaped up to be, having a killer conclusion could set you up for a pleasant surprise.
5 Tips for a mic-drop worthy conclusion
1. make a plan for the conclusion.
It has been said many times, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and it could not be more true when it comes to crafting a killer conclusion. By setting a few minutes aside before even beginning your essay to plan everything out, you get to see the necessary elements which you will want to address in your conclusion. In simpler terms, an essay plan reminds you of your contention and your main points, so that you are able to start gathering all of your arguments and create the perfect concluding paragraph. Planning for each paragraph sets you up for a win as you begin to refine key ideas and explore the many ways of expressing them, which is crucial for a conclusion.
2. Don't tell the reader you are concluding!
Time and time again I have seen people fall into the trap of using phrases such as “in conclusion” or “in closing”. The person marking your work may be blown away by the majority of your response, then reach those rotten words and will reconsider this thought. Being this ‘obvious’ with opening a conclusion does not earn any points. In fact it’s simply not sophisticated. The main reason many students are tempted to begin in such a clumsy way is that they don’t know how to begin their conclusion. If you are having difficulty to start and experiencing a bit of writer's block, simply go back to your essay plan and start to unpack the contention - it’s that easy! Rephrase your answer to the actual essay question. In most cases, you can just cut out those nasty little words and the opening line of your conclusion will still make perfect sense.
3. Rephrase, not repeat
The definition of a conclusion is literally to “sum up an argument”, thus your last paragraph should focus on gathering all of the loose ends and rewording your thesis and all of your arguments. It’s great to reinstate what you have said throughout the body of your response but repeating the same phrases and modes of expression becomes bland and bores the reader. Instead, aim to give them a fresh outlook on the key ideas you have been trying to communicate in the previous paragraphs. All it takes is a little time to change the way you are saying key points so that the conclusion does not become tedious to read. Conclusions are there to unite all of your points and to draw a meaningful link in relation to the question initially asked.
4. Keep things short and sharp
Your closing paragraph is NOT for squeezing in one or more ‘cool’ points you have- no new points should be brought into the conclusion. You should focus on working with the arguments and ideas that have ALREADY been brought up throughout your response. Introducing new arguments in that last paragraph will cause a lack of clarity and may cause the paragraph to become lengthy. A long conclusion will slow down the momentum of your piece and the reader will begin to lose interest and become impatient. Having a clear aim before writing your conclusion will help avoid a lengthy paragraph as your final thoughts will be more concise and refined.
5. The last line is where you get to really shine
Your closing sentence is the ultimate make or break for the entire essay so it is a shame to see many responses ending awkwardly due to students running out of time or becoming lazy with that final sentence. Last words are so important but don’t spend too much time on it! One awesome way to finish is with a very well thought-out phrase which summarises your contention one last time. Imagine dropping the mic after the final sentence of your essay, your conclusion needs to be stronger.
If you need further help on Text Response (including essay structure), check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .
We've curated essay prompts based off our The Golden Age Study Guide which explores themes, characters, and quotes.
Before getting started on your own essay writing using our essay topics, feel free to watch the video below where Lisa brainstorms and breaks down the topic:
"The Golden Age is primarily a tragic tale of isolation. Discuss"
If you're looking for more support, including a sample The Golden Age essay, Vindhya (English study score of 46) offers her take on how to write an essay in Dissecting an A+ Essay .
LSG-curated The Golden Age essay topics
1. “Being close made them stronger.” In The Golden Age , adversities are tempered by camaraderie. Do you agree?
2. Despite the grim context, The Golden Age highlights and celebrates the potential of life. Discuss.
3. Memories of past successes and failures have significant lingering effects on characters in The Golden Age . Is this an accurate assessment?
4. “[I would be] a fox, following a Palomino.” How do animals such as these contribute symbolically to The Golden Age ?
5. It is largely loneliness which defines the struggles of the children in The Golden Age . Discuss.
6. In what ways is The Golden Age a novel of displacement?
7. Fear of the unknown is something which permeates The Golden Age . Is this true?
8. What is the role of family in Joan London’s The Golden Age ?
9. Isolation in The Golden Age exists in many oppressive forms. Discuss.
10. Throughout The Golden Age , London draws attention to beauty rather than to suffering. Discuss.
11. In spite of their youth, it is the children of The Golden Age who understand best what it means to be an individual in the world. Do you agree?
12. How do characters from The Golden Age learn, grow and mature as the novel takes its course?
13. Due to the range of different onset stories, each of the children and their families in The Golden Age face a different struggle with their identity. Discuss.
14. “Home. She hadn’t called Hungary that for years.” In spite of all their struggle, the Golds never truly feel any sense of belonging in Australia. To what extent do you agree?
15. Explore the factors which drive Joan London’s characters to persevere.
The Golden Age is usually studied in the Australian curriculum under Area of Study 1 - Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .
Poetry. Students tend to have strong feelings about it, some love the melodic rhythm and the eloquent way in which it encapsulates life and others hate it, either because they find it a snooze-fest and would rather read the dictionary, or they simply don’t know how to approach analysing it. Whatever boat you may be in, by the end of your study of Peter Skrzynecki’s New/Old World poems, you’re bound to have a new appreciation for the art that is poetry and find analysing poems less of a daunting prospect and more a something easy to nail.
Before we begin diving into Skrzynecki, I’d highly recommend that you check our LSG’s Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response . It’s jam-packed with awesome, FREE advice for how to ACE Text Response.
Analysing Poetry in Old/New World
Unlike other forms of text, a collection of poems is not one continuous body of writing, instead a poetry collection is more like a series of vignettes, snapshots into poignant moments, in this case, of an author’s life. Whilst many students may struggle with this form and ask “How many poems do I analyse? Do I need to know all of them?”, poems are easier than most texts to prioritise and categorise into themes and often have a significant amount of metalanguage. And in answer to your questions, whilst its best you analyse the whole collection to some extent, knowing 10 or so strategically chosen poems really well, covering all themes and types should hold you in good stead for any question thrown at you in the exam.
Peter Skrzynecki wrote his poems over a significant amount of time, starting in 1970 and ending in 2006. This has given the collection a unique perspective, not only demonstrating a migrant’s journey through narrative, but also by providing the different attitudes and feelings of belonging, experienced by one individual as they try to assimilate in their new world over a period of time. This gives us, as students, a wonderful opportunity to look deeper into the text and identify Skrzynecki’s differing positions in regard to identity, family and belonging, through the perspective from which he writes his poems at different stages of his life.
To learn more about the importance of context in VCE English, check out this blog post .
Skrzynecki’s collection tends to feature three types of poem, by identifying these, analysing each piece can be made easier as similar types of poem often focus on similar themes. The three categories of poetry to look for are:
Peter Skrzynecki showcases his connection to Australia through poems that depict often idyllic landscapes, or the lives of common fauna of Australia, such as birds and fish.
The Immigrant Experience
These poems such as Immigrants at Central Station, Migrant Hostel and The Polish Immigrant offer an insight into the emotionally turbulent and difficult journey migrants go through to live in Australia. These poems also demonstrate the experiences of relief and joy felt when arriving, as well as emotions of fear, trepidation and disconnect in regards to both their new home and their old world.
Often the most emotionally pulling, these poems tug at the heartstrings and showcase the relationships between Peter Skrzynecki and his family, as well as his exploration of his heritage, his ties to his Polish background.
The new/old world structure, similar to the old and new testament of the bible are used to highlight the old world of Skrzynecki’s Polish roots and childhood, whilst the new world is his new life in Australia.
Recurring Characters in Old/New World
The author of this text, as well as a character in his own right, Peter describes his triumphs and struggles of immigrating to Australia in his poems.
The Polish adopted father of Peter, a “gentle man” who immigrated to Australia with him family from Germany often demonstrates the struggle of the older generation to fully ‘belong’, as they have grown up amongst different customs. This difference in the two generations’ assimilation is depicted in the poem Feliks Skrzynecki , as we see Feliks as attached to his Polish customs and traditions, as he “reminisce[s]” with his Polish friends. We also discover that he struggles with the English language, is a hard worker and has had cancer twice in his foot. Peter in comparison is seen to have far more of a disconnect with his Polish ancestry he “inherited unknowingly” and forget his “first Polish word” as he learns of a culture “further South of Hadrian’s Wall”.
Themes in Old/New World
As we all know, themes are an integral part of Text Response overall, and that still rings true for Skrzynecki’s poetry. To learn more about how to implement themes into different types of Text Response prompts, check out our blog on LSG’s Five Types of Text Response Prompts !
One of the most central themes of Skrzynecki’s poems is that of belonging. As the poems detail an immigrant’s emotional journey, alternating between feeling that they belong and don’t belong, we are invited to grapple with what it means to belong both mentally and physically as well as what elements are required to feel a sense of belonging in community and country.
Identity is another central theme, one that runs closely to that of belonging, as a main part of one’s identity is the culture/place/family to which they feel they belong. Old/New World: New and Selected Poems explores the formation and changes in a migrant’s sense of identity as they try to find belonging in their new Australian home as well as later, when they try to reconnect with their European heritage. To explore the theme of identity it’s best to break it down into several influential factors, which are listed below:
The surroundings in which a person finds themselves, as well as the place they call home is an essential part of identity, as it showcases what place one identifies with and feels safe in. Several of the poems are set in places of transition, such as at a train station, this helps to emphasize the displacement some migrants may feel as they struggle to acclimatise to their new home. In poems such as Immigrants at central station Skyznecki illustrates an environment of anxiety and trepidation, however, he finishes the poem with sentiments of hope of the new future, the new world the immigrants were travelling to, along “glistening tracks of steel”.
An individual’s heritage, that is the places and people from which they come to identify with, is seen to have a profound impact on the characters in Skrzynecki’s poems. There are several poems set in graveyards or in Europe where Peter questions his knowledge of where he came from, and his sense of connection to these people and places. One of the most interesting set of poems regarding heritage is the poems regarding the different sections of a graveyard for the different groups, through this Skrzynecki touches on how most will never fully part with their heritage, instead, even in death, most will reconnect with their upbringing and hold on to their roots.
The difference in a cultures’ customs is a struggle seen throughout the text. However, customs are also seen to be the way in which migrants make themselves at home whilst being able to still identify with their past. Through the generational gap between Peter and his father, we can identify the difficulty older generations may have in letting go of customs, whilst the younger new Australians often find it far easier to attach themselves to new traditions.
An integral part of identity and in cultivating a sense of belonging is the language that we speak, as the way in which we are able to communicate ourselves and who we have accessible conversation has a large impact on one’s sense of belonging or disconnect from a culture . This is due to language barriers’ ability to foster or inhibit connection. We see this as Peter demonstrates his struggle at times to identify with his Polish roots, symbolised in his loss of Polish language as he “forgot [his] first Polish word”. Despite his father repeating it until he never forgets, this forgetfulness illustrates the effort which is often required to remain connected to heritage when physically distant from it. Language’s ability to also expose the differences between people and make them feel like outsiders is also explored in First day of school and The Polish Immigrant as people such as teachers struggle with the pronunciation of Polish names and inevitably have to ask “boy, how do you pronounce that?”. We see through these poems how disconnect can be fostered due to the struggle of communication as the picking apart of their names make the new immigrants feel “tired”, “embarrass[ed]” and as if their name was that of a “European disease”. Language is also seen to hold migrants back as seen in Migrant Bachelor where a lack of a familiar language relegates a migrant to “factory chimneys and punch card clocks” which “ask no proof of speech”. This struggle with language, both the disconnect and joy that comes with communicating and the opportunities it affords individuals, is essential in determining how one identifies themselves.
How connection to family members and knowledge of ancestry impacts sense of identity is investigated through many family poems and through Skrzynecki’s somewhat frequent admissions of remorse in regard to not knowing the history behind objects or people. We also see how a difference in sense of belonging can affect relationships, in that we see Peter and his father don’t have the closest of relationships, likely due to Peter feeling he belongs to Australia whilst Feliks still had strong connections to his Polish upbringing. We also see this regret of disconnect when Skrzynecki writes about his mother and the photograph he has of her and the man that was his father, and how he wishes he had asked about it more. Whilst Skrzynecki mainly describes the immigrant experience in his poems, we can also find an overarching warning to not take loved one, and their knowledge for granted, as often we don’t have them for as long as we would hope.
Skrzynecki often reminisces about his childhood and uses it as a way to explore both his experience in his new world of Australia, and his old world of his Polish roots. We see Skrzynecki in Migrant Centre Site, revisiting the location where he first lived after arriving in Australia, noting that there was nothing to “commemorate [their] arrival”, this perhaps demonstrates his desire for a legacy, to leave a footprint of the journey so many “thousand” migrants travelled and not just a “slab of cement” as if his home was a dead “cemetery”. He also reminisces in Old Hostel Site where he explores the “immense souvenirs” and “unclaimed baggage” that is one of the first sites in Australia his parents arrived at. Using this jargon regarding travel, Skrzynecki reminds readers of the many miles migrants often have to travel to reach Australia.
Skrzynecki often uses nature to symbolise the migrant experience, as demonstrated by the birds in his poem Migrant Hostel . In this poem migrants are compared to a “homing pigeon/circling to get its bearings” as Peter remarks on the struggle of taking someone out of their previous home, like an animal out of its natural habitat.
Nature is also a major element in Skrzynecki's effort to become an Australian poet, his frequent referencing of Australian landscapes signposting his journey to identify as an Australian, as well as an Australian poet.
Hope and Loss
Not only does Skrzynecki detail the hope for a new future and loss of home common in a migrant’s experience, his poems also cover other common situations of love and loss, such as his emotional poem Leukemia which details the journey of his father as a leukemia patient. This shows belonging and identity in a far different light, not in relation to a country but being identified by your sickness which “owns your name”. This explores the common experience where a patient feels defined by their condition and struggles to imagine/remember what life is like as a healthy individual.
Metalanguage, Symbols and Motifs in Old/New World
• Feliks Skrzynecki’s garden: due to his strong bond to his Polish roots Feliks arguably never felt a sense of belonging in Australia. Instead we find he creates a sense of belonging by cultivating a home of his own, a garden.
• Skrzynecki often uses the natural world such as fish and birds to mirror the migrant journey.
• Skrzynecki litters his poems with heirlooms such as watches, hammers and photos, often to illustrate how despite having these possessions Peter frequently finds that he doesn’t know the full story of his heritage and his parent’s life. In his rediscovery of the heirlooms we often see his disconnect from his background and his regret of not learning more about it.
• The use of a colloquial idiom of “kept pace only with the Joneses'' in Feliks Skrzynecki , to reference how his belonging only feels surface deep. However, as they are only the Joneses of “his own mind’s making” it also showcases his commitment to not simply copy and to still be individual.
• Skrzynecki often uses places of transit such as train stations or hostels to showcase the uncertainty often experienced in a migrant’s journey.
- Research the places referenced in Skrzynecki poems such as Mt Warning
- Learn to spell the authors last name
- Don’t just analyse the poems individually, try and see the big picture and apply the overarching themes
For a more detailed guide on how to ACE VCE Text Response, I think you’d love the free sample of our top-rated eBook, How To Write A Killer Text Response ! To download, simply fill out the form below!
Like a House on Fire is usually studied in the Australian curriculum under Area of Study 1 - Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .
- Essay Planning
- Essay Topics
1. Historical Context
Kennedy’s anthology of fifteen short stories, Like a House on Fir e, explores the impacts of familial and social issues on an individual’s sense of identity and humanity, illustrating the vast spectrum of human condition. Having lived a majority of her life in Victoria, Australia, Kennedy’s collection follows the stories of various protagonists whose voices are characteristic of Australian culture and society. As the text is set in the backdrop of rapid Australian modernisation, the novel also depicts the paradoxical nature of technology, as various characters are depicted to be torn between confronting or embracing this fundamental change. Despite approaching the stories of characters conflicted by modern and social challenges with both humour and cynicism, Kennedy’s lack of judgement is notable; it is with this empathetic stance that she is able to the universal nature of human emotions to her readership.
Kennedy explores the theme of identity mainly through physical injury, as various characters with physical trauma find themselves to be agonisingly limited within the confines of their condition. In Like a House on Fire , the narrator’s sense of identity becomes intertwined with his subsequently decreased masculinity, as his back injury leaves him unable to physically take care of his family, and his wife begins to undertake stereotypically masculine roles within the household. In tandem with this, Roley’s wife in Little Plastic Shipwreck is rendered humourless and witless due to her brain injury, distorting her once enthusiastic self into one shadowed by her illness; further emphasising the link between physical and mental identity.
Order and Disorder
The inherent tension between order and chaos is continually examined throughout the anthology, particularly in Like a House on Fire, in which perfectionistic order and scatter minded disorder are embodied in the unnamed narrator and his wife respectively. As the two individuals are unable to establish a compromise between their contrasting personalities, Kennedy suggests that this lack of cooperation is the core reason for the deterioration of their marriage, and their subsequent misery. The notion of disorder is also symbolised by the domestic setting itself, as Kennedy depicts various characters who feel pervasive ennui and dissatisfaction within the ‘chaotic mess’ of their household environments.
Each protagonist in the collection is portrayed as possessing some object of longing, whether it be material or emotional. Kennedy utilises scattered verses of prose within her writing to communicate these human desires, building upon their significance poetically. In Static , Anthony attempts to negotiate his own wishes with those of his wife and family, leading him to wonder whether anything present in his life has been created by his own will or merely his eagerness to please others. His desire for various types of happiness, embodied in material concepts such as money or children, suggest that the human condition is built upon the foundation of dissatisfaction; that innate longing is what ultimately defines us as human.
The theme of love is present in each story of the collection, often used as an instrument through which the characters can heal and grow from their physical or spiritual pain. While suggesting that true love endures all hardship in Like a House on Fire , Kennedy also illustrates the various sacrifices one must make in order to protect the ones you love. Such is depicted in Five-Dollar Family , as a new mother makes the difficult decision of leaving her ‘loser’ boyfriend to give her child a chance at the best life possible, despite the unfortunate situation he has been born into.
The vital importance of communication within families is emphasised in the anthology, as the lack of effective communication perceivably exacerbates dysfunctional relationships. The crushing regret of a son is explored in Ashes , as he laments his lack of communication with his father who he can no longer speak to. However, Kennedy empathetically depicts the difficulty of communicating potentially painful messages to loved ones in Waiting , as the protagonist anxiously agonises over the prospect of telling her husband that she may have another miscarriage following an excruciating string of lost children.
In tandem with longing, Kennedy asserts that empathy is vital to the survival and happiness of a human being. This notion is aptly depicted in Little Plastic Shipwreck , in which the death of Samson the popular show dolphin results in Roley’s revelation of his manager’s complete lack of empathy, and subsequently the abundance of his own. Similarly, the salient importance of empathy is emphasised in Flexion , as the cold-heated and harsh victim of a brutal tractor incident repairs his marriage by allowing himself to feel more empathy for those who have supported his recovery and been understanding of his bitterness.
The anthology centres around the concept of family, as both dramatic events unfold directly due to altercations and misunderstanding within the household. By depicting both the dramatic and mundane events that contribute to creating dysfunctional families, Kennedy asserts that kindness and understanding is vital to the maintenance of a healthy and loving family. The power of family is also depicted in Like a House on Fire , as the protagonist’s dissatisfaction with life is instantly washed away by the actions of his children, who remind him that despite his life-threatening injury, his family is his constant source of love and support.
If you'd like to see how themes like these can be identified and analysed in one of Kennedy's short stories, you might like to check out our Close Analysis Of 'Cake' From Like A House On Fire blog post!
3. Essay Planning
Whenever you get a new essay topic, you can use LSG’s THINK and EXECUTE strategy , a technique to help you write better VCE essays. If you’re unfamiliar with this strategy, then check it out in How To Write A Killer Text Response .
Question 1: ‘Gender plays no role in the tragic identities of the characters in Like a House on Fire.’ To what extent do you agree?
Suggested contention: despite the ubiquitous nature of hardship, the short stories of like a house on fire explore the effect of gender roles on individuals’ sense of self-worth., body paragraph 1: .
- Pain is depicted to have no partiality to either gender in Like a House on Fire.
- Much of the trauma explored throughout the anthology is a result of lack of emotional connection or familial misunderstanding arising through individual actions, rather than due to stereotypes associated with gender.
- Kennedy suggests that there is no gender more at fault for these issues, but rather that it is mindset that determines one’s identity and fate, especially in relationships. For example, just as the protagonist’s wife in Flexion makes the mistake of cruelly wielding her physical dominance over her husband, the passive boyfriend in Five-Dollar Family is cruel in his apathy toward his girlfriend and their newborn baby.
Body paragraph 2:
- Despite this, Kennedy explores the social views that plague men as a result of their gender, compelling to limit their identity to meet these fatal expectations.
- The concept of masculinity is explored throughout the collection, often presented as an inferiority complex for many male protagonists due to their physical disabilities. The societal idea that men should be physically strong in order to be able to provide for his family is heavily condemned in Like a House on Fire , as Kennedy depicts the destructive consequences of such on one’s sense of self-worth.
- For example, the narrator of Like a House on Fire perceives his own physical weakness as unmanly, and subsequently himself as an unfit and useless father. As he is unable to pick up the family’s Christmas tree, the tree seller looks towards him with disdainful judgment, perceiving the protagonist’s wife lifting the tree to be ‘destroying the social fabric’.
- In addition to this, the narrator’s extreme attempt to physically help the family results in the destruction of the precious family nativity scene, symbolising the idea that social constructs of masculinity inevitably ends in destruction, as the narrator’s inability to recognise his physical limitations only exacerbates the problem.
Body paragraph 3:
- In tandem with this, the collection of short stories also examines the social limitations placed upon women solely due to their gender.
- The difficulty for women to balance their roles of mother and career woman is explored in Cake , in which the protagonist Liz fails to separate one from the other, leading her to feel dissatisfaction in both. Kennedy ostensibly denounces the social expectations of women to be domestic helpers, as Liz faces judgement at work for bearing a child, whereas her husband is exempt from any judgement despite it also being his son.
- The complicated and personal concept of pregnancy is further depicted in Waiting , as the protagonist agonises over the fact that she may lose another child due to a miscarriage. As the fear of disappointing others takes over her own pain and anguish, readers of the collection are invited to consider the harrowing expectations placed on women to be successful mothers.
Question 2: ‘Like a House on Fire shows that family relationships are never perfect.’ Do you agree?
Suggested contention: through the constant depiction of dysfunctional families in like a house on fire, kennedy asserts the importance of communication and empathy in repairing broken relationships, and suggests that perfect families are unrealistic. .
- Every story in the collection depicts a family undergoing some kind of hardship, whether it be financial, emotional or spiritual. Through her depiction of broken families, Kennedy suggests that emotional stress and tension within families is sometimes inevitable, even in a loving and supportive environment.
- The title of the collection, Like a House on Fire , is emblematic of the dual nature of families, as while the phrase symbolises the chaos and disorder of one’s family dynamic, it also symbolises the love and extreme passion that often coexists alongside it.
- For example, while the protagonist in Like a House on Fire reminisces upon the ‘fiery’ sexual and emotional happiness of their marriage, he also deplores their current period of domestic stress, describing it as a ‘house on fire’.
- Kennedy depicts the need for family members to engage in open and honest communication with one another to overcome the effects of trauma.
- For example, in Ashes , Chris is only able to find closure by finally understanding the mindset off his parents through effective communication. His newly found ability to express his true emotions to his mother allows him to finally perceive the grief that was masked by her supposedly ‘cruel’ actions, and subsequently finally achieve a stable relationship with her.
- Kennedy also advocates for the exercise of empathy between family members in order to find harmony within dysfunction.
- This is apparent in Flexion , in which the seemingly emotionless protagonist and his wife undergo their respective journeys of expressing empathy for the other. As their marriage significantly improves due to their increased understanding of each other, Kennedy promotes the importance of vulnerability and openness within families.
Beyond the Basics:
How does Kennedy’s short story format add to the reader’s understanding of the themes uncovered in the novel?
- The range of diverse, Australian voices depicted in the anthology work to portray the vast spectrum of the human condition.
- The concise narrative present in each of the fifteen stories work to provide the readership with an extremely personal point of view that emphasises the emotions and mindset of the protagonist, furthering the sense of authorial empathy and compassion.
- It is through this almost voyeuristic advantage we subsequently possess as readers, that we are able to fully understand the depth of each character’s humanity and sense of identity, as well as the various struggles that follow the course of an individual’s life.
- Kennedy’s ordering of the short stories also contributes to the reader’s depth of understanding. There is no apparent chronological order present in the collection, but rather a varied order of stories, depicting its diverse range of voices. For example, while the key themes and tones of the anthology remain consistent throughout, other factors such as age, gender and life experience of the protagonist vary in order to provide contrasting character viewpoints.
- As such, this variation in narrative voice allows Kennedy to present her stories as universal human experiences, emphasising the ubiquitous nature of the themes present in Like a House on Fire .
- Finally, the varied structure within each individual story lends an optimistic tone that underscores the entirety of Kennedy’s work. While some stories such as Flexion begin with the inciting event, others emphasise the chain of events that occur in leading up to the key event, as depicted in Ashes . As the undertones of hope and faith are present throughout the collection, the varied plot structure of each story allows Kennedy to assert that no matter the circumstance of hardship, one can always find a glimpse of optimism within its depths.
If you'd like to see another essay topic breakdown, you might like to check out our Like a House on Fire Essay Topic Breakdown blog post!
4. Essay Topics
The following essay topics are extracted from our Like a House on Fire Study Guide :
- In Like a House on Fire, Kennedy illustrates that perfect families do not exist, and that family dysfunction is inevitable. To what extent do you agree?
- The characters in Like a House on Fire are largely defined by social expectations of their gender. Discuss.
- In Like a House on Fire, how does Kennedy show that in even times of hardship, human strength will prevail?
- ‘The range of narrative points of views used in Like a House on Fire illustrate the characters’ deeply personal responses to life’s challenges.’ Discuss.
- ‘…As the lifetime habit of keeping his responses to himself closed his mouth in a firm and well-worn line.’ How does Kennedy present communication as a key issue in the relationships in Like a House on Fire?
If you'd like to see A+ essays on these essay topics, complete with annotations on HOW and WHY the essays achieved A+ so you can emulate this same success, then you'll definitely want to check out our Like a House on Fire Study Guide ! In it, we also cover advanced discussions on topics like authorial views and values, symbols and motifs and context completely broken down into easy-to-understand concepts so you can smash your next SAC or exam! Check it out here .
Like a House on Fire Essay Topic Breakdown
How To Get An A+ On Your Like A House On Fire Essay
Close Analysis Of 'Cake' From Like A House On Fire
The Importance of the Introduction
Margo Channing played by Bette Davis
As the protagonist of the movie, Margo Channing is a genuine and real actress raised by the theatre since the age of three. She is a vulnerable character who openly displays her strengths and weaknesses; Mankiewicz showcasing the life of a true actress through her. Initially, we see Margo as mercurial and witty, an actress with passion and desire (not motivated by fame but the true art of performing). She is the lead in successful plays and with friends like Karen and Lloyd to rely on and a loving partner, Bill, it seems that she has everything.
However, Margo’s insecurities haunt her; with growing concerns towards her identity, longevity in the theatre and most importantly her relationship with Bill. Eventually, in a pivotal monologue, Margo discusses the problems that have been plaguing her. She battles with the idea of reaching the end of her trajectory, the thought that ‘in ten years from now – Margo Channing will have ceased to exist. And what’s left will be… what?’ By the end of the movie, Margo accepts the conclusion of her time in the theatre and understands that family and friends are what matters most, not the fame and success that come with being an acclaimed actress.
Eve Harrington played by Anne Baxter
Antagonist of All About Eve , Eve Harrington (later known as Gertrude Slojinski) is an egotistical and ambitious theatre rookie. With a ‘do-whatever-it-takes’ attitude, Eve is first introduced to the audience as a timid and mousy fan (one with utmost dedication and devotion to Margo). However, as the plot unfolds, Eve’s motive becomes increasingly clear and her actions can be labelled as amoral and cynical, as she uses the people around her to climb the ladder to fame.
Margo is her idealised object of desire and from the subtle imitations of her actions to infiltrating and betraying her close circle of friends, Eve ultimately comes out from the darkness that she was found in and takes Margo’s place in the theatre. Mankiewicz uses Eve’s character to portray the shallow and back-stabbing nature of celebrity culture; Eve’s betrayal extending beyond people as she eventually turns her back on the world of theatre, leaving Broadway for the flashing lights of Hollywood.
Addison DeWitt played by George Sanders
The voice that first introduces the audience to the theatre, Addison DeWitt is a cynical and manipulative theatre critic. Despite being ambitious and acid-tongued, forming a controlling alliance with Eve, Addison is not the villain.
The critic is the mediator and forms a bridge between the audience, the theatre world, and us; he explains cultural codes and conventions whilst also being explicitly in charge of what we see. Ultimately, Addison is ‘essential to the theatre’ and a commentator who makes or breaks careers.
Bill Simpson played by Gary Merill
Bill Simpson is the director All About Eve does not focus on Bill’s professional work but rather places emphasis on his relationship with Margo. He is completely and utterly devoted to her and this is evident when he rejects Eve during an intimate encounter. Despite having a tumultuous relationship with Margo, Bill proves to be the rock; always remaining unchanged in how he feels towards her.
Karen Richards played by Celeste Holmes
Wife of Lloyd Richards and best friend and confidante to Margo Channing, Karen Richards is a character who supports those around her. During conversations she listens and shares her genuine advice, acting as a conciliator for her egocentric friends. Unfortunately, Karen is also betrayed by Eve, used as a stepping stone in her devious journey to fame.
Lloyd Richards played by Hugh Marlowe
Successful playwright and husband to Karen Richards, Lloyd Richards writes the plays that Margo makes so successful. However, as Margo grows older in age, she begins to become irrelevant to the plays that Lloyd writes. Subsequently, this causes friction between the two characters and Mankiewicz uses this to show the audience the struggles of being an actress in the theatre; whilst also adding to the Margo’s growing concern towards her age.
Lloyd is unwilling to change the part for Margo and thus Eve becomes a more attractive match for the part. An unconfirmed romance between the budding actress and Lloyd also adds to the drama within All About Eve .
Birdie played by Thelma Ritter
A former vaudeville actress (which means that she acted in comic stage play which included song and dance), Margo’s dresser and close friend, Birdie is not afraid to speak the truth. Initially she sees right through Eve’s story and she warns Margo to watch her back. Despite not being in much of the movie, Birdie’s critical eye is a foreshadowing for the audience towards what is to come.
Max Fabian played by Gregory Ratoff
Producer in the theatre, Max Fabian is involved in theatre just to ‘make a buck’. He is a hearty character who adds comic relief to a dramatic plot.
Miss Claudia Caswell played by Marilyn Monroe
Aspiring actress, Miss Caswell is seen briefly throughout the movie to show the audience the shallow nature of the world of show business. Unlike Eve, she relies on her appearance to ‘make’ it rather than talent; as seen during her encounter with Max and the unsuccessful audition that followed.
Phoebe played by Barbara Bates
The next rising star to follow in Eve’s footsteps, Phoebe is featured at the end of the film. In this scene there is a foreshadowing of the future, which suggests a repeat of the past, thus, making Phoebe an interesting character to observe. She is a manufactured construction of an actress and illustrates how replaceable a character is in the world of theatre.
Whether Language Analysis (or Analysing Argument) is your favourite section of the English course or you just wish you could read an article without analysing the effect of a generalisation, here are some quick and simply tips to ensure you can maximise your marks in Section C! For a detailed guide on Language Analysis including how to prepare for your SAC and exam, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Language Analysis .
Improve your metalanguage
What is Metalanguage?
Words that describe language!
- The words infer
- The words insinuate
- The words suggest
Create a word bank full of different words you can interchange throughout your analysis to eliminate any repetition!
If you’d like to see a list of sentence starters to help you broaden your vocabulary for Analysing Argument, check out this blog .
Do not reiterate what the writer is saying
Remember you are analysing the language the writer uses, not arguing the contention of the writer!
Therefore avoid words such as: states, highlights, uses, utilises, shows etc.
What not to do: The writer states that creating a community garden will make people “healthier and happier”
What to do: The words “healthier and happier” suggest that creating a community garden will improve the lifestyles of citizens.
Analyse the language not the technique
By now we are probably aware that puns are “often humorous” and “gain the reader’s attention”. However instead of using these generalised textbook effects, analyse the words WITHIN the pun and see how these words may affect readers.
What not to do: The pun “A new cycle” in the headline is humorous and therefore captures the attention of the reader.
What to do: The pun “A new cycle” draws a direct link between cycling and advancement in society urging readers to view cycling in a positive light.
Always ask yourself: why?
Why is the writer using particular language? Why may the reader react with concern?
Make sure the answers to these questions are in your analysis!
What not to do: Consequently readers may feel concerned.
What to do: Readers may feel concerned due to the increase in fast food consumption.
If you'd like to see exactly how to achieve this within your essays, check out our How To Write A Killer Language Analysis ebook for a step-by-step explanation of how to clearly and effectively answer 'why' and nail Analysing Argument!
Don’t forget the visual
As silly as it may sound, it is quite easy to forget to analyse the visual when you’re under pressure. The visual can either complement the article or oppose the views of the writer.
Mention what the visual:
- And how readers may react to the visual
Keep your introduction and conclusions as brief as possible
Most of your marks will come from your analysis so there is no need to spend copious amounts of time perfecting your introductions and conclusions. Keep them short and concise!
Pick and choose what to analyse
It is simply impossible to analyse every single technique the writer uses in their article. Therefore pick the words/phrases that you find most persuasive. You will not be marked down for what you do not analyse!
- Plot Summaries
- Themes, Motifs and Key Ideas
- LSG’s Bubble Tea (BBT) Strategy for Unique Strategies
- Structural Features Analysis
- Sample Essay Breakdown
For a detailed guide on Comparative, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Comparative.
1. Plot Summaries
Summary - the hate race .
Maxine Beneba Clarke’s seminal novel, The Hate Race, follows the childhood and adolescence of its author, who is the main protagonist. The book is a memoir, meaning that it is based around a recollection of her life and filtered through her psyche and experiences. The book begins with Clarke’s family, British citizens of Afro-Carribean descent, moving to Sydney, New South Wales. They settle in the town of Kellyville, which is known as a ‘white picket’ community. Although these communities largely don't exist anymore, what they once described was suburban environments where only Anglo-Australians lived. As you can probably imagine, this immediately caused problems for Clarke’s family, with suspicion from neighbours and racist interactions with other kids in the neighbourhood. Clarke initially focuses on her experiences in kindergarten, revealing how prejudice and discrimination can be inculcated (meaning, ‘taught to’) in children even from such a tender age. Clarke meets her first tormenter - Carlita Allen. Carlita makes every effort to exclude Clarke from participation in usual preschool activities, hurling insults across playgrounds and calling her ‘dirty’. Literally, of course, Carlita is referring to Clarke’s black skin colour, but, metaphorically, it reflects the deeply hateful implication that anyone with a dark complexion is inherently inferior and lesser than white Australians. The bullying doesn’t stop by the time Clarke reaches primary school. In fact, it intensifies, aided and abetted by teachers who consistently turn a blind eye to the constant, gut-wrenching racial abuse. One of the most salient (meaning, ‘important’) scenes arises when Clarke is asked by a teacher what her parents do for a living. Upon informing the teacher that her mother is an actor, and her father is a Mathematics Professor - the first British citizen of Afro-Carribean descent to attend a British university - she is met with the patronising assumption that she must be lying. Surely black people wouldn’t have the emotional and intellectual intelligence to perform such high-powered jobs? Clarke also develops eczema during her primary school years, leaving patches of lighter-coloured skin covering her face, and a newfound hope that, bit by bit, God is answering her prayers and making her white. In high school, the racist rot sets in even further. Clarke develops a new habit for scratching her skin at night to the point of bleeding and bruising. Looking back at this experience, Clarke theorises that this was her body’s way of expressing her extreme discomfort with being black. It gives us a picture of how horrific racism can truly be, and the ways in which it forces minorities into believing that there’s something wrong with them, instead of there being something wrong with the people hurling abuse in the first instance!
It is this stage of her life when Clarke deals with one of the most difficult parts of being a minority in a majority white country. Through her interactions with teachers, friends and boyfriends alike, she becomes deeply angry at those people who abhor racism themselves, but seem unable to step in when racist events are actually occurring. Clarke also deals with more nuanced experiences of racism - people who don’t intend to be racist, but end up making insensitive comments anyway. Whether intentional or not, these comments still hurt, and are still part of the challenges of growing up black in a white country. Nonetheless, Clarke continues to rise above the odds, becoming a prolific high school debater, maintaining her position at the top of the academic cohort, and forming a small but tight-knit group of friends whom she can trust.
Clarke’s recollection of her childhood ends on a relatively abrupt note, with Clarke returning home to realise that her father has left the family for another woman. In a note to the family, he provides no explanation other than that he had a secret affair for many years. Suddenly, Clarke, her brothers, sisters and mother are left to pick up the pieces. In the epilogue, Clarke is now an adult with a child of her own. Walking down Melbourne’s North Road, she reflects on the challenges and opportunities to which her child will be witness. Clarke portrays it as the dual sadness and happiness of knowing that, in Australia, her children will surely have access to more opportunity than in most parts of the world - but it will come at a cost. Namely, they will also have to contend with the remaining undercurrent of racism that, even now, still seeps through Australian society. The unsatisfying end to the novel reflects the nature of racism and the experience of a minority growing up in a white country itself: there is no happy ending. Rather, life becomes a series of painful incidents interspersed with minor victories; those who stand up against racism, those who fail to do so and the hundreds of thousands of Australians who will forever grapple with a society that sees them as ‘ lesser than’ due to the colour of their skin.
Summary - Charlie’s Country
Charlie’s Country , an Australian movie directed by Dutch-Australian Rolf De Heer, follows the story of Charlie, a First Nations man living in late-2000s Australia.
The movie is set in the wake of the 2007 Northern Territory Intervention. As a bit of quick context, this was an action taken by the Commonwealth Government under Coalition Prime Minister John Howard to send Australian Defence Force troops into the Northern Territory. It came in response to the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ report , which raised allegations of child sexual abuse and neglect of children in Aboriginal communities. The intervention also involved restricting alcohol consumption, quarantining a portion of welfare payments to Indigenous residents (with the justification that this would prevent it being spent on alcohol, pornography, cigarettes, etc.) and hefty fines as well as jail sentences for those forced to comply. It is important to note that, throughout the whole intervention, not a single person was prosecuted for child sexual abuse or any related offence. Nonetheless, this intervention had real world, drastic consequences - and that’s exactly what Charlie’s Country explores. At the time of de Heer’s film, Charlie lives in a remote Indigenous community. Signs of the intervention are all around - alcohol is banned from most communities, many individuals face personal bans on procuring alcohol, police officers dot the streets and citizens live under constant watch. Charlie, on a surface level, is a fairly happy-go-lucky individual; he exchanges jokes with police, is friendly with other elders and people in his community and doesn’t seem to do much else. As always with a movie like this - there’s a bigger story behind this all! Rolf de Heer takes us through an increasingly concerning image of Aboriginal communities in the wake of the intervention. Charlie visits his local housing officer and is unable to obtain a house. Here, we see that Charlie is willing to work and wants stable accommodation, but the government is unwilling to provide.
Going on a hunting trip with his friend, ‘Black Pete’, the two are stopped by police and have their guns, as well as the water buffalo they killed, confiscated. Yet again, two Indigenous men try to provide for themselves - but are stopped by a legal system more concerned with rules and procedure than listening to First Nations communities themselves. Charlie decides he’s had enough of having his every move and action monitored, and takes a stolen police car into the bush. Abandoning the car, he tries to live amongst nature for an unidentified amount of time. Cooking fish, performing traditional First Nations dances, painting on the bark and looking for shelter, Charlie finally appears to be home . Yet, as usual, it’s too good to be true - the extreme cold makes Charlie incredibly sick, and, before we know it, he wakes up in a Darwin hospital. After refusing further treatment from the white doctors who fail to understand Charlie’s situation and why he is so angry at what’s happened to him, the predictable cycle begins again: Charlie returns to his community, they all share alcohol as a way of coping with their current situation and flee when the police come running to confiscate the liquor. Charlie isn’t civil with the police this time. In a fit of anger - an outburst of emotion after decades upon decades of control and being denied access to any opportunity - he picks up a bat and smashes the police officer’s car window. Brutally beaten into submission, Charlie is imprisoned as the police officer remarks that he should never have 'gone soft on a blackfella’.
Dragged before the courts, Charlie is imprisoned for assault. When the judge asks him to make a comment, he gives a lengthy speech in his native language. For de Heer, this acts as a symbolic assertion of the First Nations’ rights to their own culture, and a proud statement against the many governments that have continually placed barriers in the way of Indigenous Australians having the same opportunities as any one of us. Eventually, Charlie is released on parole. He expresses a deep desire to go home - but also a sense of defeat . He resolves, in the end, to believe that even if he will always live under the watchful eyes of the Australian Government, he can at least fight back and contribute by doing his bit to maintain the many cultures of our First Nations Peoples. Charlie teaches young Indigenous boys traditional dances, speaking proudly of when he performed a dancing ceremony for Queen Elizabeth in 1973 at the Sydney Opera House. The movie ends with Charlie staring mournfully into the camera, almost looking at the audience themselves. There seems to be no happiness in his eyes - nothing left but a sense of sadness and resignation. I know that, upon approaching the end of the film, I started to feel the same sadness that Charlie so evidently shows us. It’s a different type of emotion; one centered around the pain of knowing that we live in a country that still has not made peace with its past, and refuses to listen to the First Nations Peoples who know it best. Charlie’s Country exposes to us that Australia is a country where, even today, our First Nations citizens are not treated as equals. As such, de Heer’s film is a stark reminder that this state of affairs is not good enough - and that the responsibility for change doesn’t just lie with politicians and decision-makers . It’s our job too: and failure is not an option .
2. Themes, Motifs and Key Ideas
Through discussing Themes, Motifs and Key Ideas, we’ll gain a clearer understanding of some super important ideas to include in your essays. Remember that, when it comes to themes, there’s a whole host of ways you can express your ideas, but this is what I’d suggest as the most impressive method to blow away the VCAA examiners. We’ll be adhering to the CONVERGENT and DIVERGENT strategy. While we don’t go into detail into how to use LSG’s CONVERGENT and DIVERGENT strategy in this guide, I’d highly recommend you get familiar with it by reading How To Write A Killer Comparative .
Connection to Culture (CONVERGENT)
Both de Heer and Clarke offer a unified idea around culture: that being connected to one’s culture is inherently good and positive, and should be encouraged. Let’s break this down. The Hate Race and Charlie’s Country are both works that explore the challenges of individuals maintaining their culture in surroundings which would otherwise see them revert to the ‘standard’. In this case, because we’re talking about Australia, de Heer and Clarke take us through the same story of an overarching, implicit acceptance that the Christian, Anglo way of life is the norm. This standard has deep roots in the colonisation of Australia, and the resulting claim of sovereignty by the Crown. Even as this country has evolved into a multicultural land, it still bears the marks of a ‘European’ country; whether that be our British legal system, Anglo-American democracy or any of the other institutions we have taken from the Western world.
It is in this context that de Heer and Clarke go to special lengths to explain why people should be empowered to connect to their culture. To our author and director, culture is an essential element of who you are, and it is this identity which carries people through life . For Maxine, the shock of realising that she may be the descendant of African slaves, and had lived so many years without having any idea this may be the case, is drawn from the fact that she, as a child, feels incredibly disconnected to who she is. Clarke’s memoir thus reminds us that ‘growing up black in a white country’ is an experience that often results in minority children not truly learning about who they are. Travelling through life, Maxine is continually disconnected from her culture, to the point where performing ‘African tribal dances’ to the school is nothing more than a joke. Even in her own estimation, Maxine has internalised (meaning, she’s adopted it herself) the view that her culture is irrelevant, and there’s no real reason for her to properly engage with all its complexity and beauty.
If we consider Charlie’s perspective, his involuntary burst of tears at the hospital stems from a recognition that his people have been denied the free opportunity to embrace the world’s longest-surviving culture; the First Nations traditions that date back 40,000 years. With his friend slowly dying of lung cancer, at that moment, the old man is more connected to the cigarettes that slowly sapped his life away than he is to the First Nations way of living. Unable to hunt, gather as a community, work the lands as the First Nations traditionally would or embark on any other activity that would keep them connected to their culture, this country’s first inhabitants are instead told to abandon ‘the old ways’ and embrace Anglocentric standards of life.
It is a shocking reminder that, without culture, people are left like driftwood swimming through a vast ocean. By that, I mean that people are left without an anchor through which they can independently experience the world. Instead, their understanding of themselves, their sense of self and their actions in life are all filtered through the preferences of the dominant majority.
Intergenerational Disadvantage (DIVERGENT)
Whilst Charlie’s Country and The Hate Race share many similarities in terms of the negative impacts of racism and prejudice, the texts carry different connotations when it comes to the notion of intergenerational disadvantage.
To explain this idea, let’s first define and unpack ‘intergenerational disadvantage’. We could spend days talking about this, but, simply, intergenerational disadvantage refers to cycles of poverty and criminality that pass from generation to generation, worsening with time. Think of it this way: assume you’re a teenager - or at least still financially reliant on your parents. If your parents were to lose everything they owned today in a massive financial crisis, you’d be in big trouble too, right? Suddenly, that part-time job you had that was helping you save money might be the only income for the entire family. You might even have to drop out of school, TAFE or university to care for everyone, denying you a higher paying job in the future.
You’ll have to work your tail off for years on end. Since you’re supporting an entire family, say goodbye to saving up for a house or to pay for your kid’s education in future. Your kids now have to start from square one with less opportunity than the people around them, meaning it’ll be harder for them to succeed in life.
When we apply this to Charlie’s Country, the analogy becomes quite clear. Charlie lives in a community where there is no opportunity. Because there are no jobs - and no real way to gain steady, meaningful employment - people fall into alcoholism, marijuana and anything else that’ll help them cope. Lung cancer and alcoholism shorten lifespans for people like the old man with failing kidneys, while no employer is going to waste a chance on those still living. There is simply no ability to ‘succeed’ here, because the local residents don’t see that there’s anything worth working towards. Hopeless, unheard and disillusioned, it becomes easier for Charlie’s community to just accept their sorry lot in life than futilely work towards changing it.
We aren’t made witness to this same cycle in The Hate Race. Instead, Bordeaux Clarke is the epitome of someone who has broken the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage; becoming the first individual in his community to attend a British university. Marrying a high-powered Guyanese actress in Cleopatra, the married couple represent success and a defiance of racist stereotypes, not the grinding poverty and disadvantage we see in Charlie’s Country. Although Maxine experiences terrible discrimination and prejudice as a child, there is always a sense that she will academically remain on top. Maxine uses the prejudice with which she’s faced as a motivator, giving her the impetus to consistently emerge successful; whether that be in her schooling, cross-country running, as a debater or any other academic endeavour. Sure, she faces racism that inhibits her from always succeeding - the Lions Club competition is a great example of such - but this isn’t so much about intergenerational disadvantage as it is about racism, plain and simple.
Ultimately, the difference between the two is a matter of emphasis. It’s not that intergenerational disadvantage doesn’t exist in The Hate Race, but more so that Clarke is choosing to focus on how even the most successful individuals can suffer from prejudice and racism. This in turn helps us to understand that racism impacts everyone , and we should never pretend it isn’t a massive problem. Conversely, Charlie’s Country is all about social disadvantage, and explores how prejudice can prevent oppressed individuals from becoming successful in the first place.
3. LSG’s Bubble Tea (BBT) Strategy for Unique Strategies
Why is an interpretation important.
Your interpretation is what English is all about; it’s about getting you to think critically about the essay topic at hand, to formulate a contention (agree, disagree, or sit on the fence) and argue each of your points with the best pieces of evidence you can find - and it’s something you might already be starting to do naturally.
In this section, we aim to help you develop your own interpretation of the text, rather than relying on your teacher, tutor or even a study guide (including this one) author’s interpretation. By developing your own interpretation, you become a better English student by:
- Writing with meaning. For a text to be interpreted, you need a text and an interpreter (i.e. you!). Whenever we read a new text, our interpretation of a text is shaped by our pre-existing beliefs, knowledge and expectations. This should be reassuring because it means that you can leverage your own life experiences in developing a unique interpretation of the text! We’ll show you how this works in the next point.
- Remembering evidence (quotes or literary devices) more easily. If you know you admire a character for example (which is in itself an interpretation 😉), you can probably remember why you admire them. Perhaps the character’s selflessness reminds you of your Dad (see how you’re using real life experiences mentioned in Point 1 to develop an interpretation of the text?). You will then more easily recall something the character said or did in the text (i.e. evidence) that made you admire them.
- Having an analysis ready to use alongside the evidence. As a result of Point 2 , you’ll be able to write a few sentences based on your own interpretation. Rather than memorising entire essays ( we’ve talked about this before ) and regurgitating information from teachers, tutors, study guides and other resources - which can be labour intensive and actually detract from the originality of your essay - you’re approaching the essay with your own thoughts and opinions (which you can reuse over and over again across different essay topics).
Let’s look on the flip side. What happens when you don’t have your own interpretation?
When you don’t take the time to actively think for yourself - i.e. to think through your own interpretations (we’ve talked about the importance of THINK in the THINK and EXECUTE strategy here ) - when it finally comes to writing an essay, you may find it difficult:
a) to get started - formulating a contention in response to the essay topic is challenging because you have no strong opinion about the text ,
b) complete the essay - writing up arguments and using evidence in paragraphs becomes challenging because you have no strong opinion about the text ,
c) to score higher marks - ultimately, you end up regurgitating other people’s ideas (your teacher’s, tutor’s or from study guides) because you have (you guessed it) no strong opinion on the text .
Having your own interpretation means that you’ll eliminate issues a, b and c from above. Overall, you’ll have opinions (and therefore contentions) ready for any prompt when you go into your SACs or exams, which means it’ll be easier not only to write a full essay, but an original and insightful one as well.
To overcome the issues above, you need to be confident with your own interpretation of the text. This doesn’t come naturally to a lot of students, and it makes sense why. After all, so many subjects reward specific answers (2 + 2 = 4), whereas English is tricky because there’s so much more flexibility in what constitutes a ‘correct answer’. It’s scary treading the sea of different possible interpretations because you’ll ask yourself questions like:
- How do I know if my interpretation is correct?
- How do I know if my evidence actually backs up what I’m arguing?
- What if I disagree with my teacher, and they mark me down for a differing opinion?
- Or worse - I’m not smart enough to come up with my own interpretation!
Let me say that you are absolutely smart enough to develop your own interpretation, and I’ll show you how to do so in A Killer Comparative Guide: The Hate Race & Charlie’s Country with LSG’s unique strategy - the BUBBLE TEA (BBT) strategy . By following our step-by-step framework, you can be confident that your interpretation is valid, that it backs up your argument, and that most importantly, you won’t lose marks for it!
4. Structural Features Analysis
In How To Write A Killer Text Response , we cover Metalanguage . A Structural Features Analysis and Comparison goes over a lot of the same material, and will help elevate your essays to the next level. Knowing quotes and themes is essential, but being able to pair that with analysis of the title, setting, narrator and overall structure - we'll cover title here - shows the examiner that you really know exactly what you’re talking about. This section will be especially crucial for metalanguage topics that are all about how Charlie’s Country and The Hate Race are structured , so, enjoy!
The title of a text is always significant - and this text pairing is no different. First, of course, please do keep in mind that there is no universally accurate interpretation of what a title means. I’m giving you my assessment, but the author and director could very well disagree themselves! That’s okay, because as long as we back it up properly, your interpretation is as valid as any. As always, that’s the beauty of English. Let’s first unpack The Hate Race. What this title signifies is that, for minorities in Australia, life is constantly akin to a race. There is no rest, no comfort and no sense of home when your mind is preoccupied with all the ways you don’t belong. Australia, as a colonial outpost representing the Crown in a region that is overwhelmingly non-white, was once proud of its discriminatory stances; holding itself as the 'White Man’s Paradise'. It is in this context that racism, for Clarke, is not just a reality that lurks beneath the surface, but rather, a guiding tenet of Australia since 1788. With this overarching narrative, it is also important to acknowledge that the mere experience of racism is immensely emotionally, physically and mentally taxing for Clarke, and all people of colour. Being denied a firm sense of self, and constantly being forced to justify one’s own existence isn’t easy, and becomes a ‘race against time’ to see who can cope and rise above, and who will be swept away along with the tide. This sorrowful reality is what engenders the never ending race against being consumed by such hatred, because, for non-white Australians, there simply is no other choice. If they stop running, they run the risk of being consumed by the hatred themselves and becoming so cynical and disillusioned that they forget their culture and accede to the Anglocentric, white majority.
Moving to de Heer’s film, Charlie’s Country, the title reflects a simple reality: this is Charlie’s country. However, when de Heer speaks of ‘country’, he is really talking about ‘Country’; the Indigenous notion of connection to and respect for one’s traditional lands. Nurturing this connection is a sacred responsibility, and the film reminds us that, despite Charlie’s many trials and tribulations, the land on which he lives is truly his own. Throughout the film, Charlie maintains a keen awareness that what is happening to him is unjust, and, unlike Maxine, he doesn’t need someone to convince him that he belongs. Whatever Anglo Australia does, it cannot change the continuing legacy of his people and their sovereignty. To Charlie, it is laughable to think that his Country - which the First Nations have nurtured and kept in common use for 40,000 years - could suddenly become someone else’s property in less than 200 years. He may not have any legal authority under the Crown, and his people may be dispossessed of their sovereignty and authority, but this cannot and will not change the remaining truth of First Nations sovereignty. De Heer’s film title thus challenges us to confront our own perceptions of Australia and remember that we all live on stolen land.
As with all our essay topic breakdowns, we'll follow LSG's THINK and EXECUTE strategy , as taught in our How To Write A Killer Text Response study guide. The LSG's THINK and EXECUTE strategy follows three steps in the THINK phase - A nalyse, B rainstorm, and C reate a Plan. Learn more about this technique in this video:
'I’m free now!' ( Charlie’s Country ) 'My children are the descendants of the unbroken.' ( The Hate Race ) Compare the characters’ understanding of freedom in the two texts.
Let’s break down the prompt. This is a quote-based prompt, meaning the quote must feature somewhere in your essay . Ensure that you have a good understanding of the place from which the quote is drawn. In this case, Charlie’s exclamation of joy features when he escapes to the wilderness and is able to cook, dance and provide for himself. The quote from The Hate Race is the last line of the memoir, with Clarke expressing the sentiment that her children belong in Australia and will be as strong as their parents.
The next part is to establish the link between the quote and the topic. The essay topic at hand asks us how 'freedom' is understood, so we need to actually understand freedom itself in relation to the quotes provided. For de Heer and Clarke, freedom isn’t an abstract concept relating to rights, liberties and responsibilities. Rather, freedom is found when people have the ability to be themselves, own their culture and live their truth. For Charlie, that mainly relates to his right to live in his country and maintain the traditional ways of the First Nations Peoples. Clarke, however, is more focused on the balancing act of finding freedom through a multicultural society that includes all, and in doing so celebrates the contribution that all cultures make into the melting pot that is Australia.
There’s no one correct way to structure your paragraphs for Charlie’s Country and The Hate Race . However, I find it consistently helpful to follow a chronological structure. This refers to going through events of the memoir and film in the order they actually occur, and finding unique points of analysis based around these chronological groupings.
We also need to think of examples and points of comparison. Base these around the themes we’ve gone through, so you can easily identify DIVERGENT and CONVERGENT points of comparison. I’ll walk you through my thinking.
Paragraph 1 – unable to experience freedom because systems exist to stop individuals from embracing their own culture
- Kellyville and Alice Springs are immediately established as communities where rules and standards of association are both made and enforced by white authorities. The types of authorities and the prevalence of this overarching system of control differs between The Hate Race and Charlie’s Country , but are not any less harmful.
Paragraph 2 – attempts at pushback are rebuffed, resulting in further punishment for the simple crime of failing to conform
- Anglo Australia maintains its dominance through an assumption that minority Australians and First Nations Peoples will not question their place. Thus, when there is even the smallest semblance of resistance, punishment is the only solution.
- The difference here is that while Charlie wages an active resistance against white authorities, Maxine is moreso placed into submission by the repeated failure of her pleas to be heard by anyone in a position to change what is occurring. At the centre of both situations, though, is a desire to break free of white Australia’s chains.
Paragraph 3 – finding cultural freedom is a slow process of change, but one that begins with self acceptance
- There is no happy ending to either The Hate Race or Charlie’s Country. Freedom does not suddenly spring forth. Instead, our author and director elucidate that cultivating freedom is a slow process. For Charlie, that begins with embracing his culture again and seeking to keep it alive. On Maxine’s part, it is about refusing to be broken by her past, and instead using her trauma as a motivator to build a better future.
If you'd like to see the sample A+ essay we wrote up for this essay topic, then you might want to check out our A Killer Comparative Guide: The Hate Race & Charlie's Country study guide !
Updated on 11/12/2020
[Modified Video Transcription]
Hey guys, welcome to another week of Lisa's Study Guides. Thank you so much to everyone who came to the VCE expo that happened last Thursday through to Sunday. It was so great meeting so many of you - I really did not expect this many of you to rock up and say hi, but I'm so grateful that you did. So, thank you again so much! It just reinforces that what I'm doing is being really helpful to you guys, and I'm so glad! I'm going to keep going with this. I'm going to keep making sure that I offer you guys amazing English tips on this channel. So, hit that subscribe button below ( check out our YouTube channel here ), if you do support, and make sure you tell your friends about it as well, because the more love we can share, the more we help each other out.
Today we're going to be talking about tones . You might be interested in looking at tones because you are analyzing articles, but sometimes we're also looking at tones when it comes to the author's writing style when it comes to texts.
So, What Is a Tone and Why Is It Important?
A tone is essentially the attitude that an author takes towards their piece. What is really important is that you realise that there's a difference between tone and mood .
Mood has to do more so with the reader's response to an article, whereas tone is the approach that the author has towards the piece.
It's definitely tricky trying to identify tones, but there are a few things that you can ask yourself to help steer yourself in the right direction.
First thing is: does the author have a positive or negative attitude towards a certain idea? For example, if the author says, 'I can't wait to go to this party' (said in an enthusiastic tone), as opposed to saying, 'I can't wait to go to this party' (said in a sarcastic tone), who do you think is more excited about the party? Probably the first one. In this case, it's been a little bit easier because you see visually how I approached it, but if you just listen to what I've said, the first tone is immersed with a lot more enthusiasm, whereas the second one is sarcasm. Just remember that even though I said it was enthusiasm and sarcasm, if you yourself interpreted it differently than that is okay.
Remember with English, as always, there's not always that one perfect answer. Everyone interprets things differently. It's just a matter of you being able to back it up with your own evidence and your own explanation of why you've come to this certain tone.
So, any form of human emotion can ultimately be translated into a tone. So, whether that is being nostalgic, honoured, sentimental, condescending - these are all tones. And, there are actually so many tones that I've linked a link down below that goes to my blog (if you’re reading this you’re already on our blog!) that includes 195 tones you can choose from. I've also separated these turns into positive, neutral and negative tones and divided them yet again, depending on the type of emotion in order to help steer you in the right direction in picking out a tone amongst all the many, many tones that are available out there.
One more additional tip is that authors can also change their tone . So these can be called tonal shifts , or shifts in tone. An author might not start a book with the same tone and finish it with that same tone - so much has happened throughout the entire book or the event, or maybe even if it's just an article, depending on what they're talking about, they can change their tones. Don't get tripped up by that, acknowledge that sometimes throughout a piece there will be modifications. And, if you're able to pick that up, then that goes a really long way when showing off your efforts to your teachers or examiners.
So, just as a heads up, these tips that I've spoken about are all in our ebook How To Write A Killer Language Analysis . If you're keen to find out more about tones, then go ahead and check it out . There's more there, more examples to help test you, to see whether you're on the right track, more questions that you need to ask yourself to find the right tone and what you can do with tonal changes. I'm also going to do something a little bit different today, I'll write down three different sentences and I want you guys to interpret them your own way and tell me what tones do you think they are? I think this will be a fun exercise to bring our community together. And I'd just love to see what you guys have to say. I'll check in with you guys next time! Alright, let's see what different tones you identify from these sentences:
1. Check out my new shoes, I just got them yesterday!
2. It was long since I had returned to this place; the memories washed over me wave after wave.
3. It is imperative that we initiate fair laws for all workers!
List of Tones for Language Analysis
We've all struggled with identifying tones for language analysis. So, I've compiled an assortment of tones you can choose from, categorised into their 'intensities'! For a detailed guide on Language Analysis including how to prepare for your SAC and exam, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Language Analysis .
We’ve explored creative writing criteria, literary elements and how to replicate the text over on our The Ultimate Guide to VCE Creative Writing blog post . If you need a quick refresher or you’re new to creative writing, I highly recommend checking it out!
There are two types of people in this world… those who love creative writing, and those who don’t. But no matter which one you are, never fear, your saviour is here (in the form of this simple guide to writing creatively – whether it’s for school, for a writing competition or just for fun)!
What Are the Five Steps?
- Do a brain dump of your ideas!
- Stay true to yourself
- Start small - keep it simple
- Don't be afraid to add "spice"
- Read your writing out loud
STEP 1: Do a brain dump of your ideas!
You’ll often find that your brain is buzzing with possible storylines or scenarios; you’ll feel so overwhelmed trying to pick just one! Or maybe, you’re experiencing “writer’s block”, a mind blank. My tip for this is to set a five-minute timer, get a blank sheet of paper and scribble down everything that comes to your mind! You’ll be surprised at how imaginative your mind can be under pressure! When the timer goes off, take a break and then read through each idea individually before choosing one to develop. This way you’ll be able to clearly see all your thoughts, and maybe even be able to link multiple ideas into a more detailed story !
STEP 2: Stay true to yourself
Creative writing is so different to other text types because it gives you the freedom to choose what you're writing about, and how you're going to do it! So, take advantage of this and write from the heart – don’t try to be someone you’re not. Let your personality shine through your writing. It's usually the stories that have some kind of personal backstory, or are based on a real-life experience that are the most enjoyable to read!
STEP 3: Start small - keep it simple
No one expects you to write a New York Times best seller novel in your first attempt! Even the most talented authors began with a dot point plan or a simple paragraph based on their idea. From my experience, the absolute hardest thing to do is actually get started. Keeping it simple and focusing on getting your ideas down on the page is the easiest way to overcome this hurdle. You can worry about the language and descriptions later, once you have a basic first draft, editing and developing is so much easier!
Want to also know the 11 mistakes high school students tend to make in creative writing? Check out this
STEP 4: Don't be afraid to add "spice"
Now it's time for my favourite part; adding the flavour! This is what will make your writing stand out from the crowd! Take some risks , don’t be afraid to rewrite parts of your piece or use language techniques that are out of your comfort zone!
Here are a few of my favourite features to use when creative writing:
- Flashbacks / Foreshadowing (these are good tools to subtly suggest a character’s backstory and add some mystery – especially if you use third-person language to make it more cryptic)
E.g. As he entered the quadrangle for the first time since the accident, a wave of nostalgia hit Jack… The boy chuckled as the girl ran across the quadrangle to meet him, her cheeks rosy from the frosty air. The pale orange sky was transforming into a deep violet and the new-formed shadows cast dancing silhouettes on the young couple. The boy took the girl’s hand, making a silent promise to himself to protect her smile forever. A promise he would fail to keep…
- Personification (giving inanimate objects some life to spice up your descriptions!)
E.g. Her favourite oak tree stood proudly in the middle of the park, arms outstretched, waving to those that passed by.
- Oxymoron (contradictory words or groups of words)
E.g. Deafening silence, blinding darkness, cold fire
If you want to enhance your language or use different adjectives to what you normally use, https://www.thesaurus.com/ is your best friend! 😉
If you're stuck on how to develop your descriptions and make them more vivid, I suggest relating back to the five senses . Ask yourself, what can the character see? What can they smell? What does the setting they're in sound like?
E.g. He was paralysed in front of the caskets… the cotton wrapped, caterpillar-like bodies, the oppressive silence of the parlour made him feel sick. And the overpowering stench of disinfectant mixed with already-wilting flowers certainly didn’t help.
STEP 5: Read your writing out loud
It can be awkward at first, but have some fun with it! Put on an accent, pretend you're a narrator, and read your writing. It really helps you to gauge the flow of the piece , and also identify things you might need to change. Or even better, read your writing to a friend or family member - ask them how they feel and what their initial thoughts are after hearing your piece .
Either way, reflection is one of the best ways to improve your writing and get it to the next level.
That’s all there is to it folks! Follow this simple recipe and you’ll be cooking up a creative-writing storm! Good luck! 😊
Want more tips on how you can achieve an A+ in creative writing? Read this blog post.
For a detailed guide on Language Analysis including how to prepare for your SAC and exam, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Language Analysis .
[Video Transcription 1]
Hey guys. Can you believe it is November already? Holy cow. Time flies so quickly. All my Year 12s have finished now, so if you're still here with me ... you must be in Year 11 or below, or you could be a Year 12 that's already finished, but you still enjoy my videos. I'm on to you. If you didn't know already, I do have a personal YouTube channel. So head on over there if you guys have finished the year for English because I'd still really love to stay in contact with you. I've previously done this segment before and when I started it, everyone fell in love with it. So I created the segment a while ago now, and I have done one article... Actually it was two articles so far. If you haven't looked at those ones, I'd recommend you go ahead and check it out. But this one, I'm going to do a 2001 analyzing argument article. The reason why I choose really old articles is because I feel like the more recent ones you probably end up doing at school, or you will probably do it in your own time. If not, you've probably already done it. That's why I want to leave those ones to you guys, maybe eventually I'll get up to it. But I want to be able to show you guys a little bit more, so that's why I choose really old ones, but it's still relevant to the course. Don't think that just because it's done in 2001, which is forever ago, what, were you born there? Oh, my gosh. I just realized that some of you could have, yeah. Anyways, the aim of today is just to go through the article, try to identify what the language techniques are and understand how they are persuasive or at least how the author intends them to persuade the audience. Actually, down the track we will talk more about structure, more at looking at arguments, that type of thing. But the goal here is more just about identification and understanding language techniques. So let's just get started. With this particular one, you'll see that it is on a website, so you could analyze that in itself. But since I don't have it in front of me, I'm not going to, and I'm just going to look at the actual article itself. "Keep healthy the informed way. Get in early. Get your Medi-Info card today." Automatically this might appeal to readers because it's saying "Keep healthy the informed way," as though if they don't take onboard whatever this person is recommending them, then they won't be informed and so they're missing out on something. There's also this sense of urgency, "Get in early." "All of the world health professionals and their patients are waking up to the possibilities of the Medi-Info, MI Card." So "All over the world" is indicative of a global profile so this indicates that if it's good enough for the rest of the world, then surely it must be good enough for Australians like you and me. So that may invite readers to jump on-board with whatever this Medi-Info Card is about. "Health professionals and their patients." "Health professionals and their patients" goes to show that if these people are recommending it and they are embracing the card, such as doctors or dentists or physiotherapists, then it's a really fantastic endorsement about that card and the product and what it's worth. Therefore, we should also support the product, too, either that could fall under the fact that they have credentials and so we trust them. "Waking up to the possibility." So "possibilities" definitely has positive connotations. It's this idea of endless potential and so there is a lot to be gained from the card. "Driven by breakthrough technology, the microchip-powered and credit-sized Medi-Info Card contains the info that carers and patients need to have now, on the spot, on time, on the screen." So "breakthrough technology" itself, "microchip-powered," they both indicate that this idea is cutting-edge. For us, this may persuade readers because there's this idea that the latest tech often means the most effective or it's most likely to enhance your living. The fact that it's credit-sized means that it is also portable. It's lightweight. What do you think this could mean for readers? It's user-friendly. How does this persuade them? It could persuade a person to adopt this card and take it on-board because it seems like it's convenient, it's easy to use. And it's not going to be a burden on them because all they need to do is really just throw it into their wallet. Now "on the spot, on time, on screen" really seems to push the idea of what do you think? Sorry, if it's out of focus. It's because I'm not looking at the camera. It could appeal to our desire to have things instantaneously. We're in the generation where things pop up in our face all the time, like notifications, shipping happens overnight. We just want things straightaway. So it could be that, but also this idea that this card is available any time and the information is accessible for you 24/7 so it's convenient. So I'll put that in below as well. "This is the ultimate cool techno accessory." Okay. "Cool techno" itself is a bit of slang, or you could say that it's colloquial language to try to appeal to readers who may be interested in the latest tech, or people who want to keep up with the trend or the latest fashion accessories, for example. But there's this added benefit, it will actually save your life. Then this person moves on to say, "Imagine you have an accident and are taken to hospital. Without the MI card in your wallet, can you be sure that vital information won't be missed? Think what the card might reveal." "Imagine itself" is a hypothetical situation. It's trying to get readers to see that the MI is a valuable tool. It has benefits that readers just cannot ignore and just between you and me, it could also appeal to our sense of FOMO. FOMO is not something that you would write into your essay itself, but there's this fear that if you don't have it, well, then what could potentially happen? It could be really bad. So then there's all these dot points about what the card reveals, so it's those features, that for you, it comes back to the idea that all of these are the benefits that you can have. You can have also reassurance as a result because you know that all your information is there. People can access it when they need to, or when you're in times of need so then that in itself could relate to this idea of safety or comfort. "All this and more can be downloaded fast from your MI Card. No forms to fill in. No stressful interviews about your medical history. No gaps because you're too stressed to remember your health details or insurance information." Okay. This idea that it can be downloaded fast is, again, convenient. It's not going to take up too much of your time. It's going to be really quick as well. "No forms, no stressful interviews," so these two together will eliminate any of your negative experiences that you've previously had working with health professionals or the health sector. There's this idea of this simple, straightforward approach and this idea that there are no gaps, either. You might be fearful that because you're not providing all the information that you have because you just don't know it, then maybe you won't get the right type of treatment or people won't be able to look after you properly. But in this case, there's this sense of security that you'll be looked after. "And there's more. It can even show you that in the event of your death, you want to live on as an organ donor." Organ donor itself has positive connotations. Everybody knows that if you're an organ donor, wow, you're very selfless and you're very giving, so this is like an added bonus that can make you feel better as a person. "You could give someone else the chance of a new life." If you're able to do this, it puts you in power, so you could say that you feel empowered as a result. "What about security?" All of this section here maybe you could say specifically appeal to an audience who might be more concerned about security and about the information being put online or into this tool. Then the rest of it, it's pretty straightforward as well. It'll work pretty much anywhere, so this idea that you're always going to be covered. "You can trust our technology. Get the Medi-Card Info today. Keep healthy the informed way," and then the rest of it, "Send in your stories of medical emergencies." Because I just want to keep this short, I think I'll leave it there. You could say that with this part, there's this very enthusiastic tone that's carried through the entire thing. Okay, cool. So I am just going to leave it there. I hope that was helpful to some extent, just to get you started and to get you thinking about some of the language techniques that might be there. How did you guys go? I would actually really love to hear what kind of language techniques you found in the comment section below. But if you've got any questions for me, then please leave them as well because I know I haven't gone into this in immense detail, but yeah, hopefully you're able to walk away and learn something from it. So if you like this type of thing, don't forget, I have an online course that's called How To Achieve A Plus In A Language Analysis? There's lots and lots of information there and videos that are around five hours long for you. Around 300 students have taken the course and it's rated something like 4.5 and above, so hopefully that's a good indication that it is actually really helpful. So next week when I see you guys, we're going to go into part two, the article where it's about the family doctor. So I'd encourage you guys to go and analyze that yourself, and then let's reconvene next Friday and work through it. Hopefully this will prepare you guys in Year 11 for your end-of-year exam. Bye guys!
[Video Transcription 2]
Hey guys, so welcome back to part two. If you were here last week, then you know that I have already analyzed part one article for you and now we're moving into part two. You can just download the PDF for this language analysis article just down below in the description box, but let's just get started. Okay, so, "I am a doctor with over 35 years experience." So automatically this doctor is establishing his credentials. So with credentials, it usually means that as an audience, we are impressed and we are respectful of this person and trust their opinion, especially if it's 35 years. "I know what it is to be called to a local school in an emergency and find a child suffering from asthma, unable to tell me what medication has previously been prescribed. I know what it is to see older patients, day after day who experienced wariness and confusion in trying to remember all the medication they are taking." So when he says, "I know what it is," these are first hand experiences. It shows, again, and compounds on the idea that this guy is indeed experienced in the field and we should trust anyone, I guess, we should kind of trust the doctor, right, because he's exposed to this type of stuff every single day. It also shows that he is empathetic, which is a great quality to see in a doctor, because he seems to suffer as well when his patients are suffering. So with that in mind, as an audience, we are more inclined to like him and to value his opinion because he has directly been impacted as a result. When he talks about a child with asthma, it's a very interesting scenario to choose, he could have talked about anyone, he decides to talk about a child. So potentially what this could do is appeal to a particular audience, for example, it could be parents, it could be other people suffering asthma, for example. But let's say if we're parents, generally we're... I say, we like I'm a parent, I'm not a parent. But we're protective towards young people, and you want to remove them from needless suffering as a result. Again, "Those who experienced weariness and confusion," potentially that could appeal to the elderly. So, if you're somebody who's older and you're starting to experience the fact that you're getting a little bit confused or you're forgetting things, then this might really appeal to you and speak to you because it could be the answer that you're looking for. "I recently heard about the pain and distress of a patient who suffered an epileptic fit while far from home. Unfortunately, everyone around him, unaware that he had mild fits, assumed he was drunk and ignored him." So this part here, like recalling a story, it shows the unfairness of the situation. That this person who was having epileptic fit, would have a much more positive outcome should he have had an MI card. And we feel sorry for him because nobody should have to experience their illness and be alienated or judged on by the community or by the public. So as a result, we may be encouraged to go out there and get our own and MI card or recommend our friends or family who we know are, who may be suffering from illnesses to get an MI card. "We can all sympathize with this lad", so that itself is quite easy. What is it, guys? Inclusive language. So if you don't know already, inclusive language engages the audience because it encourages them to feel included and responsible in whatever the author is talking about, so we feel like there's something that we can do in this case. "This lad," that's quite colloquial, why do you think he does that? So maybe it shows that this doctor isn't just a doctor who's distant and unfeeling, but he sees us, patients, as people and as friends, people that he cares about. And so, again, we're more inclined to listen to this doctor because we see him in a positive light. "He can no longer feel confident when he goes out." So this is, again, like so unfair, nobody should go out and feel like they can't be confident. If this is something that's taken away from the person, but a Medi-Info Card could help relieve them of that, then maybe they should do it, maybe we should stop advocating for MI cards. "We can all sympathize," do you guys know what that is? Generalization. Generalization is when it's indicated that everyone agrees, like we can all sympathize because if you don't seem like you sympathize, well then you're kind of that a-hole in the corner that's like being rude and not caring while everyone else is. So of course you're kind of more inclined to want to agree and sympathize and therefore support MI card. "As a doctor," so yet again, that kind of goes back to like the credentials. "I know that in emergency, he would have been given vital help he required immediately." So this sense of instantaneous, there's no waiting involved, everything happens straight away. So we can trust Medi-Info, it's going to do its job at making sure that people are well looked after. "All Australians," same thing, generalization. "Young or old, sick or well, bush or city, close," so this starts to appeal that to lots of different people. "Lives that are free from anxiety," so appeals to their sense of freedom or this idea that this person couldn't feel confident anymore. We don't want them to go out there and feel anxious either, right? You can see from all the different lines and where they're going, that I try to make connections to other parts of the article as I go through the piece, because I think it's really important to be able to look at things on more holistic scale than rather just one thing on a micro level. This means that you're able to better understand the contention, as well as the arguments that the author uses to build up that contention. So let's finish this one off, "The Medi Card doesn't waste people's time," for people who are very conscious of their time and want to be productive, it could appeal to them. "Safe and secure," excellent, so we know that. We spoke about this last time with the MI, giving you security and comfort. And also you can also say that there's alliteration here, it's just as a side note though, I would much rather you guys talk about security and safety and how that appeals to people. And "My work as a doctor would improve," I mean, if you really wanted to, you could even like put that together with as a doctor, and then it goes back to credentials. "If I had more time to talk to my patients, they would be improved." Duh, duh, duh. Cool. "To me, your Medi-Info Card means peace of mind for everyone." Okay, so what do you guys think of that? I'm not going to analyze it, I'm going to ask you guys to analyze it and put it down in the comment section below for me. So with this one, I analyzed a lot, but I'm sure there's still heaps more that I haven't quite looked at. And so I want you guys to put down in the comments below, what are the different types of analyses that you've pulled from this article, let's share around and help each other out. The more we can collaborate and work together, the more we can lift each other up. So if you needed more help with analyzing arguments, you guys can definitely check out my study guide where I have an entire section, which covers everything from how to analyze, language technique list, structure, high response essays, low response essays, so you can see the difference and everything is annotated for you in those essays so that you understand why they actually did well or not so well. So that's it from me, I will see you guys next Friday, and chat to you then. Bye!
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Essay Service Examples History John Proctor
Analytical Essay on The Crucible by Arthur Miller: Analysis of John Proctor's Journey
- Topics: Hero's Journey John Proctor The Crucible
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The play The Crucible by the playwright, Arthur Miller, is set during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. As a group of young girls claiming to be possessed by satanic influences, accuse other civilians of witchcraft, John Proctor the tragic hero finds himself at the center. Many lives are at stake as the girls cry out against people they despise or who have wronged them, Proctor and his wife are accused. In the process, his past affair with Abigail comes to light, and threatens his good standings in the Puritan society. He is in fact, a well-respected voice of reason in society, and his eventual downfall is a tragic one, even by Aristotle’s standards. His error in judgement is his affair. He is unable to compromise when he is accused, and his point of enlightenment causes the audience catharsis and makes him a tragic hero.
John Proctor’s error in judgment was a slip in his moral character. He had an affair with his young servant girl named Abigail. As Proctor is talking to Judge Danforth he admits, “ I have known her in the proper place where my beasts are bedded … I wish you had some evil in you that you might know me! (Miller 102).” John Proctor, guilt-ridden, cannot handle the feeling of lying to his wife and the court but in an attempt to reclaim his good name he recalls the night of his affair with Abigail. As he desperately scrambles to make up for his mistakes the reader connects to the disorder and realism in his role as a husband. Although Proctor lowered his morals and sinned, Proctor reminds himself of what other factors he has offended, “A man may think God sleeps, but God sees everything. I know it now… I have rung the doom of my good name (Miller 104).” All of his good actions up until the affair do not matter when church and state government prosecute as one. Proctor lacks the ability to forgive himself, which resembles the action of trying to hold onto his dignity when one makes grave error.
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Proctor is unable to compromise Reverend John Hale stops by the Proctor’s house to see if the devout Christians who went to church. John Proctor replied, “I look down to see my money glaring at his [Parris’] elbows, it hurt my prayer. I see no light of God in that man (Miller 62).” Proctor believes Reverend Parris is an unholy man and instead of participating in a corrupt church, Proctor would rather not risk his outward appearance to the people and keep his opinion. The reader would feel as though Proctor would did the right thing for standing up for what he believes in, and his passion for the truth filled life. The way Proctor attempts to keep the only part of himself that is unstained becomes ruined. After signing his name to a confession paper, “ His breast heavy, his eyes staring, Proctor tears the paper and crumples it, and he is weeping in fury,but erect (Miller 133).” As the men talk about what has just happened in the court, Proctor is unable to sign away the only name his was given, saying that he has served the devil. The audience would sympathize with Proctor, he has been trying to keep calm while everything is falling around him, and all he has done was state his opinions.
John Proctor’s enlightenment comes towards the end of the book. As Proctor rips up the signed confession with irritation, “Because I lie and sign myself to lies. Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang (Miller 133).” He wants the prosecutors to know what they have done to him and that is was unjust. The reader would experience regret because Proctor is an honest man who got caught up in one lie and cannot get himself out. John Proctor finally realizes what has been happening, “ My honesty is broken. I am no good man, spite only keeps me silent (Miller 126).” The part of Proctor that wants to be free is taken by the court and in this fight he feels vulnerable. Meanwhile, the reader see Proctor’s guilt has overwhelmed him and this is too much for this strong man and causes him to have a breakdown.
Readers of the Crucible end up feeling just like the audience in a Greek play, who felt catharsis for the tragic heroes. John Proctor was a classic tragic hero. John Proctor fulfills his this journey as a tragic hero. Staying true to his beliefs and applying what he has learned kept him as a trusted figure in his society. When Proctor realizes that it is too late to undo the false accusations of the trials, Proctor and the readers are shocked with the potential hanging of the good man. The idea of a tragic hero is truly timeless, it can be found throughout history as a meaningful way to portray an event, emotions or ideas.
- Miller, Arthur.The Crucible.New York: The Penguin Group,2003.Print.
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Every tragedy in history has a tragic hero. Now a tragic hero always has the potential for greatness but is destined to fail. They also meet a tragic death and face it with honor. The Salem Witch Trials began in the spring of 1692, in Salem Massachusetts. During this period of time there were 200 people were accused of being a witch, and 20 people were hanged. During the Salem Witch Trials, there is a “tragic hero” named John Proctor....
“It is the cause, not the death that makes the martyr.” (Napoleon Bonaparte). The underlying truth of this axiom has been the ruler in which all protagonists’ deaths have been measured. One such instance is the execution of John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. In her article, Fair and Foul: The Goodness of John Proctor, the critic Susan Abbotson proposes the argument that in the 1996 film rendition of The Crucible, Proctor’s character development goes from “JP to JC”;...
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Chaos breaks out in the town and rumors of witchery spread. Teenage girls let out savage screams and shake uncontrollably. Everyone is panicking and blaming one another. In ‘The Crucible’, a historical fiction play written by Arthur Miller, set in 1693 Salem, Massachusetts, John Proctor, a respected farmer, tries to get the truth out and end the witchcraft madness. Arthur Miller wrote the play about the Salem Witch Trials, which started when a group of young girls were accused of...
Miller Arthur’s play “The Crucible” takes place in Salem, the vent during this play is regarding the witch trial. Theis trials will have a totally different reaction from the audience and result in this influencing individuals in numerous ways in which. The witch trial breaks the village into totally different sides of their own means of seeing the trial, individuals get the defendant of being witches or finding out witchery and their trial will keep company with totally different consequences....
Christopher Pike once said, “Nothing is as it seems.’ John Proctor, from the play The Crucible, relates to this quote. John Proctor is a farm owner in Salem, Massachusetts. He was a well–respected man who went through some road bumps that made his characteristics change drastically. John Proctor changed throughout the play because of events that made him have to change his judgment, beliefs and emotions. The beginning of the play, John Proctor is not presented as a good man,...
John Proctor, from Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, and Macbeth, from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, are two main characters that show obvious similarities with each other. Both characters show the negative impact of witchcraft in their lives, the reputation they have within the community, and their tragic flaws. While the similarities may be true, they contrast and show evident differences. To begin with, John Proctor and Macbeth are both highly impacted by witchcraft. John’s home town is rumored to be bewitched and...
The Crucible is a 1953 play by American writer Arthur Miller. It is a dramatised and in part fictionalised story of the Salem witch trials that occurred in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during 1692–93. John Proctor is a hardworking moderately aged farmer, husband, and father. He values genuineness and has extraordinary scorn for hypocrisy. Incidentally, John is concealing a scandalous little secret of his own. His wife Elizabeth Proctor adores and regards him even though she realises he isn’t without...
John Proctor is one of the most significant and vital characters of The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller in 1952 and released in 1953. John Proctor is a farmer in his middle thirties, the sort of important man with a bad temper. Miller does not use the name of the character by chance: his name is a telling-name because he is a very cleanhearted, good and reliable leader. Furthermore, related to his psychology, he is a completely proud and selfish...
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