Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Crucible

From the diary: “February 1, 1982

“In American Lit I forgot my copy of The Crucible. Anyone who didn’t have one today was supposed to sit quietly and listen. I didn’t. I sat quietly and wrote [a story] for Tales of the Blue & Yellow Sun."

This would be Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible. We were reading it aloud. I’ve always enjoyed reading plays aloud. The Crucible is one of those stories where people do cruel things to other people thinking they are doing good. A few days ago Kent was telling me about a new book on the German Death Camps of World War II. It seems the German officials had decided the best thing for the German nation was to move the Jews somewhere else. But then those nasty Allies hemmed ‘em and there was nothing for it but to put the Jews in camps. But then the confined Jews got all diseased and unhappy and it was just more humane to kill ‘em. The Final Solution was chosen because the previously tried solutions hadn’t soluted.

The Crucible isn’t about the Holocaust. It’s about that crazy period in American history when people started accusing others of being witches. Nobody got burned at the stake in America. All convicted witches were hung. The play gave me the creeps, naturally. I was pretty clear on being a despised minority and I know that’s what the whole “marriage debate” is about. Isolating and rejecting a minority so the majority can feel better for not being isolated & rejected. Fortunately we seem to be in a lull between genocides and lynchings. In this country, at least.


hbjock said...

It's funny that you mention The Crucible because I read it out loud in my 11th grade English class, and then had to act out a scene from it for one of my acting classes at UH. If I remember correctly, it's a scene where John Proctor is being accused by his wife of sleeping around, and he snaps back at her. I remember when my partner and I first ran through the scene, our professor (who was a total ass) ripped us to shreds... and so we decided that on our final run-through a week later, we were going to take our anger and spite for our professor against each other, and it worked! He was impressed!! Hehehe..

Glenn Ingersoll said...

That is so what you're supposed to do! Use your personal hurts & angers (& loves, I suppose) in acting. Nobody will be able to tell your real emotion from your character's emotion.

On the other hand, I'm never going to recommend assholishness in teaching.

I wonder how many teenage voices have stumbled over Arthur Miller's words in high schools across the nation? Have we actually had fewer witch hunts thanks to him? I'm sure I read somewhere that Miller wrote The Crucible as an allegory of McCarthyism.