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The Crucible and Fences are, respectively, Puritan and African-American plays. In what...

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reingoldke | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted September 11, 2012 at 11:22 PM via web

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The Crucible and Fences are, respectively, Puritan and African-American plays. In what ways are both essentially American works of art?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 12, 2012 at 12:06 AM (Answer #1)

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Both works display how freedom can result in futility to a great extent.  What makes both works so very powerful is that they display how freedom is the only constant in their respective visions of American society.  This is where both works are uniquely American.  On one hand, Proctor recognizes that his freedom will not change anything.  Exercising his freedom in defending "his name" will not alter anything in Salem.  Yet, it gives him a voice and this becomes absolute, something powerful and compelling for Proctor.  Troy displays how freedom is the only element he possesses against a world where little conforms to his own sense of what reality should be.  In this, the reality of freedom is the only element he possesses.  He cannot keep death out, but the freedom of building a fence is the only tool he has.  The utilization of freedom by both Proctor and Troy are representative of how American freedom might not guarantee results.  Yet, it is the only element one has in dealing with the modern construction of what is front of the individual.  Freedom is shown to be useless in many respects, but it is all that the individual possesses in seeking to make sense of the modern condition.


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