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"I see a shred of goodness in Proctor now. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white...

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rainyafternoon | Student | eNoter

Posted October 18, 2012 at 10:16 AM via web

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"I see a shred of goodness in Proctor now. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs."  Discuss the significance of the above statement.

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

Posted October 18, 2012 at 10:54 AM (Answer #1)

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For Proctor, the above statement is one of the first moments in which there is a clear embrace of his own identity.  It comes at the point in which Proctor has refused to sign his fraudulent confession.  It is reflective of the idea that he no longer wishes to live in a form of mendacity or a form of deception.  In the "goodness" to which he speaks, Proctor has been able to assert his own sense of what is good and right.  For Proctor, the significance of the declaration of his own good is the idea of his own redemption.  The "Goodness" to which he speaks is defense from the "dogs" that envelop him.  These reflect the forces of hypocrisy that are present in Salem, such as those in the position of power who do not represent what power actually should be.  These are also the elements in Salem that have initiated the entire process of the witch trials in order to consolidate their own condition.  For Proctor, these "dogs" are reflective of his own spirit that failed to embrace what the truth was throughout the drama.  When Proctor is told of how Corey died, there is a sense of reverence in Proctor's reaction.  He feels this because he recognizes the true honor that Corey represented, something that he could only to emulate in his own being.  It is this aspiration for honor that strives him to defend his "name."  In doing so, he ends up protecting his own sense of dignity from "the dogs" that which to detract from it both within him and external to him.

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