Explain how John Proctor was rejected by society.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Proctor was rejected by Salem society in a couple of ways.  Initially, Proctor is not an "insider" in Salem society.  He lives outside of town, and symbolically, is outside of the social trappings of the Putnams or Parris.  In the early phases of the drama, Proctor does not seek Salem societal approval and thus, when his transgressions become public, his rejection becomes easily facilitated.

Once Proctor accepts his relationship with Abigail in court, it becomes here in which he is rejected.  Proctor does not wish to be accepted once he has admitted his relationship.  When he is in holding, waiting for death, Proctor is at a point where social acceptance is not as important to him.  Due to the fact he does not want it, Salem society is not one to openly accept him or fight for Proctor's life.  It is in this rejection in which Proctor has his "goodness," as Elizabeth puts it.  Proctor is accepting of social rejection.  He finds it acceptable to be shunned because of the point where he is at, a point where there is something more transcendentally important than social acceptance.  Proctor has not shown a willingness to be accepted by society.  Salem society's rejection does not impact Proctor.  Proctor's direct and curt manner of talking, his willingness to challenge social notions of the good in favor of what he considers to be right, and an ending in which his "name" is more important than anything else is where his rejection from Salem society is evident.

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The Crucible

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