The crucible

Topics: Salem witch trials, The Crucible, Samuel Parris Pages: 45 (11427 words) Published: October 9, 2014
Ridgeview High School
Expository Reading and Writing

The Crucible

Bennett, Jessica. “The Flip Side of Internet Fame.” Newsweek. March 3, 2008.

Hamilton, Anita. “Outsmart Your Haters.” Time. October 6, 2008.

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. Penguin Group Inc: New York, 2003.

“Witch Hunts, Pledges, and Blacklists.”


Witch hunts, blacklists, character, reputation, defamation, public and private identity, the dark side of human nature, and cultural norms. These are many of the still-relevant themes that Arthur Miller explored in The Crucible. In today’s technologically-dependent society, many of these issues have been complicated by the omnipresence of the World Wide Web.

Paired with the reading of The Crucible, online research about the Salem Witch Trials, and McCarthyism, the articles in this assignment sequence provide information and persuasive points of view on the topics of libel, mass hysteria, the importance of reputation, and the danger of defamation in our technologically-savvy world.


Activity 1: Getting Ready to Read

This activity is to introduce students to Puritan values, culture, and ideals.

Read the list of Puritan ethics. Each student should pick 2-3 that still apply to mainstream American society, and 2-3 that no longer apply or have degenerated in today’s society. Give specific examples to illustrate each.

The Puritan Ethic

1. God is the supreme ruler of man.
2. Man should love God more than himself.
3. Man should live according to the Ten Commandments.
4. God is an angry God who is vengeful and punishes transgressors. 5. Heaven and hell are locations; God is male; the Devil is male. 6. Vanity is sinful.
7. Pleasure is sinful.
8. Purity must be in all things.
9. White symbolized purity; black symbolized sobriety; red symbolized passion, uncontrolled emotions and the Devil. 10. Never waste time.
11. Work hard at whatever you do.
12. Be conscious in all things.
13. Save for a rainy day.
14. Men are superior to women physically, emotionally, and mentally. 15. Women should be under the domination of men.
16. It is a disgrace for all women not to marry.
17. A woman’s place is at home.
18. “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” Children are to be seen, not heard. 19. Sobriety is swell (temperance in use of strong drink).
20. Other religious views aren’t to be tolerated.
21. Tithe—give freely to the church.
22. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”
23. The theories of pre-destination and election are valid.
24. Work together for the common good.
25. One should always be gainfully employed.
26. Stress plain living and high thinking.

Activity 2: Quickwrite to Activate Prior Knowledge and Experience

Quickwrite prompt:

1. Put your name, today’s date, and your class period in the upper right-hand corner of your paper. 2. Label your paper: Journal: The Crucible
3. Respond to the question below with at least ¾ page writing. 4. Focus on writing as much as possible the time given. Spelling, paragraph, and punctuation don’t count! TOPIC:

Why do you think the Salem witch trials have not been forgotten? What makes them interesting to people today? Do you think it would be possible for this to happen in modern society? Explain your answers.

Activity 3: Background Research

Webquest: The Devil’s Loose in Salem
See Appendix


Activity 4: Introducing Key Vocabulary


A severe personal test or trial one must go through


Intense fear or panic


To produce through magic


A small group within a larger group


To charm or cheat someone out of something


A trembling fear


Excessively strict in personal and religious matters


Using unfair methods and unsupported claims to try to find out who is “disloyal” (comes from Senator Joe McCarthy)

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