Comparing and Contrasting the Importance of Setting in The Crucible and The Great Gatsby

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Setting - the location and time frame in which the action of a narrative takes place, plays an important part in defining the plot of the story or play. It sets the background and manages the expectations of the reader, as the behavior and thoughts of fictional characters often depend on the environment as much as on their personal characteristics.
'The Crucible' was written by Arthur Miller in America in the early 1950's. It is a historical play based on events in American history surrounding the Salem Witch Trials of the seventeenth century. It takes place in a small Puritan village in the colony of Massachusetts in 1692. The witchcraft trials, grew out of the particular moral system of the Puritans, which promoted interference in others' affairs as well as a repressive code of conduct that frowned on any diversion from norms of behavior. Nineteen men and women were hanged at Gallows Hill near Salem, while another man, Giles Corey, was stoned to death for refusing to submit to a trial on witchcraft charges. Hundreds of other persons faced accusations of witchcraft and dozens more languished in jail without trials. By the early autumn of 1692, the cries of witchcraft began to ebb and doubts began to develop concerning the validity of the charges. Soon, the educated elite of the colony began efforts to end the witch-hunting hysteria that had enveloped Salem.
Miller did not write The Crucible purely as a historical play detailing the Salem witch trials. The play is a parable for the McCarthy era and is a product of the early Cold War between Russia and America, in which similar 'witch hunts' occurred targeting citizens as communists rather than disciples of Satan. The genesis of the American apprehension of communism is attributed to historical events. The transition from World War II to the Cold War was a time of great tension. The United States had grudgingly agreed to collaborate with Communist Russia for the sake of winning the 2nd World War.

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