Belonging - the Crucible

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Belonging can be defined as the process of the association with the human race as socially active characters. It is part of the human condition which exemplifies the need for security, safety and acceptance. Aspects of belonging such as alienation and isolation can be associated with the concept of belonging, as not belonging is a reciprocal process of belonging. Belonging allows for the substantiation of characters through the formation of identity and connections. Belonging is the human need for wellbeing, acceptance and social security. One belongs to a group, a family, a unit, and one can also be isolated from groups and rejected from communities. Through analysis of The Crucible by Arthur Miller in the milieu of the related texts The Outsiders by SE Hinton and the feature article, A Dangerous mind offer an insight into the concept of belonging is presented, and is substantiated through the use of literary devices. In The Crucible, belonging is explored through a theme of persecution, whereby one must conform to the norms of society in order to belong. The alternative is alienation and displacement. The central aspects of reputation and empowerment are explored through a variety of literary techniques. Miller’s use of juxtaposition reinforces characters and emphasises upon their social faction. Danforth’s ultimatum, “A person is either with this court or must be courted, there is no road between” emphasises the two juxtaposing alignments in the society, whereby one either belongs or does not. The contrast here lies in the divide between individuality and social conformity. This is portrayed by Abigail’s calling of Proctor as the “devil’s man” who “put knowledge in my heart.” clearly trying to ostracise and label Proctor as an outsider, as well as the characterisation of John Proctor as a non-conformist through his desperate rejection of the labels society places upon him. He cries, “It is my name! I cannot have another in my life… leave me my name!”

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