What is an example from modern history that can be connected to themes in The Crucible?
I don't want to use McCarthyism.
4 Answers | Add Yours
It is not impossible but challenging to strive to find another connection from Miller's work to something other than McCarthyism. I think this is so because it is such an easy link given Miller's own experience with the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC). One prominent example would be the Red Scare that gripped America in the wake of the First World War into the 1920s. Sacco and Vanzetti were two of many individuals who had to feel the grip of accusations and trials that were surrounded with an air of speculation and misperception as opposed to the valid exercise of jurisprudence. Another immediate example would be the climate of post- 9/11 America. The detainment and increased paranoia of "persons of interest" and "enemy combatants" led to a moment where Constitutional liberties were seen as elements that prevented a full embrace of security. Increased powers to law enforcement led to a perception that "the enemy walks amongst us," and this climate of fear could have many paralells to Miller's Salem.
The previous post focuses on theme of politically-minded persecutions such as happened in the McCarthy era. In these cases, people are persecuted for being associated with a real problem. McCarthyism falls under this category because the people being persecuted had some connection, however tenuous, to communism, which could fairly have been seen as a threat in those days.
However, I would argue that it is at least important to think about another theme mentioned in the link: that of using "political persecution as a tool for deflecting attention away from difficult problem areas." In other words, sometimes people who really have nothing to do with a particular problem end up being persecuted.
Some examples of this could be:
Hitler's persecution of the Jews. They had nothing to do with Germany's problems but were used as scapegoats -- someone to blame for Germany's problems.
Possibly, China's persecution of Tibetans. This can be seen as an attempt to draw attention away from real quality of life issues faced by the mass of Chinese people.
Profiling of Arabs might be one area to explore. Since 9/11 there have been a similar amount of fear concerning Arab terrorists.
The Jews in Germany were labelled as the source of problem, or an explanation for the misfortunes in Germany during WWII even though they did not contribute to the problem in the first place. Attention is deflected from the actual cause and/or source of the problem and is instead directed what is seen to be associated with it.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes