In The Crucible, very few Indians were converted to Christianity in Salem. Can anyone help me with reasons why?

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

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I would strongly suggest the need to examine the stage directions that Miller uses in Act I.  These directions can help to provide much in way of thematic and historical understandings to the play that can help grasp much in way of complex ideas.  In these directions, Miller talks about how there is a genuine and sincere fear of "the other" in Salem.  This inability to accept the dialectical "other" is what constructs much of life in Salem, according the Miller.  The fear of the "wilderness," the fact that the girls dance in a "strange" and "possessed" manner, and the very idea of "witches" are all elements that represent "the other" in Salem life.  This inability to understand "the other" is what creates the demonizing polarity that exists in Salem.  It is for this reason why Salemites were unable to fully understand or work with the Native American population.  These communities existed "in the wilderness" and were "the other" in contrast to Salem's own sense of identity and understanding that helped to create a setting whereby there was much in way of complexity and doubt.  These conditions did not operate well in Salem, and this is not only evidenced in Miller's stage directions but in the drama, in general.  It is here where I think one can find many reasons why the Native American population fell outside the constructs of Salem norms and became victim to them.

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