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Critical Lens Essay
English 9

Name __________________
Leahy/Moczarski/Ryan
English 9; period _____
Date _________
Model of a Critical Lens Essay

Lessons of life are learned through circumstances. In many cases, personal gain is the result of personal loss. Bernadette Devlin once said, “To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else.” We all have things that we really long for in life, but some dreams cannot be met without sacrifice. Characters from The Crucible written by Arthur Miller and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn written by Mark Twain, teach readers that if they really want to gain importance and happiness in life, they have to let go of other things that have routinely become a part of who they are.

The Crucible is a story about a witch hunt in Salem, Massachusetts. John Proctor was a down-to-earth everyday Puritan farmer who was accused of being a witch and was given a critical choice to make, either confess and go on living life, or to deny and be killed. The ironic thing about this situation is that every single person who was accused of being a witch was, in fact, not a witch whatsoever. However, this was a pivotal point in every accused person’s life. It was either the key to life or the key to death. John Proctor chose death. He wouldn’t allow himself to lie just so he could save his mortal body. He died with honor, standing up for truth. This reflects an important theme in Arthur Miller’s play. In order to uphold righteousness, we must be willing to give up things that are most dear to us. For John proctor, this entailed his own life, not to mention his wife and children. Despite our loss, Miller suggests we benefit from sacrifice. In Proctor’s case, his and his family’s reputation remained intact.

In Huckleberry Finn, a young boy by the name of Huck Finn encounters many adventures while in search of happiness and liberty. He met many different people along the way who affected his life in one way or another. As a result, he battled between choosing a civilized and an uncivilized lifestyle. People liked Widow Douglas and Miss Watson told him that he ought to live a civil life and wanted him trained and molded to fit into society’s standards. On the other hand, he was drawn to the lack of restrictions that a life on his own in nature allowed. This often left Huck feeling confused as he continued on his own journey and faced further conflict. Huck didn’t know which life to choose. Would wearing button-up white collared shirts, fancy pants, and expensive shoes make him happy? Would the rest of society accept him then? He was so used to smoking, “cussin’”, and living around freely, doing what he wanted, when he wanted. Huck had to pick which life he wanted to live. This conflict helped further develop Huck’s character. In the beginning of the novel, Huck didn’t really care about anything but himself and his own self-interests. He did everything for himself, no matter how it would affect others. As the story goes on, however, Huck learns the importance of valuing other people and their opinions. In order for him to learn this lesson, he had to give up some really old and learned habits so that he could gain companionship and happiness in the end. This included “civilized” teachings that supported slavery and would have had him turning Jim over to bounty hunters rather than plotting to free him.

Bernadette Devlin once said, “To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else.” The characters John Proctor and Huckleberry Finn from The Crucible written by Arthur Miller and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn written by Mark Twain proved this as they had things that they really longed for in life, but some of their dreams could not be met without sacrifice. They had to let go of other things that had routinely become a part of who they are.

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