In The Crucible, how does John Proctor respond to the question about why he has not been to church?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is clear that Salem is a place full of deeply divided groups of people, and John Proctor makes this clear when he responds to Hale's question regarding his lack of attendance in church. After trying to avoid answering the question, finally he admits that one of the principal reasons he has for not going to church is the way in which Parris seems to focus more on money and his own personal comforts rather than on the austere simplicity of religion. Note what he says to Hale:

Since we built the church there were pewter candlesticks upon the altar; Francis Nurse made them y'know, and a sweeter hand never touched the metal. But Parris came, and for twenty week he preach nothin' but golden candlesticks until he had them. I labour the earth from dawn of day to blink of night, and I tell you true, when I look to heaven and see my money glaring at his elbows--it hurt my prayer, sir, it hurt my prayer. I think, sometimes, the man dreams cathedrals, not clapboard meetin' houses.

Thus John Proctor in his honesty clearly reveals some of the divisions that are present in Salem, and will come to influence the witch trials that are occurring. Clearly, Parris is a man who is more concerned with worldly affairs than heavenly affairs as he is a man that "dreams Cathedrals," and it is this that annoys John Proctor so much and makes it difficult for him to go to church.

dtarver1003 | Student

John Proctor responds to the questions about not attending church by claiming that his wife, Elizabeth Proctor, has been sick.  Proctor also claims that he does not agree with Parris on theological matters, "I see no light of God in that man.", and he thinks that Parris too concerned with material possessions.

mentions God anymore.” John doesn’t like Parris’ concern for material things, pointing out his preoccupation for the deed to the house that the village has provided for the minister.

 John does not like Parris semons because he …”hardly ever