The Crucible is a play by Arthur Miller that was written and published in 1953. It is loosely based on facts about Salem witch trials that happened in 1692 and 1693. On the other hand, the play is believed to be an allegory on McCarthyism, the practice of accusing people without having enough evidence. Thus, both have striking resemblance, and the author wanted to show how helpless and doomed a person might be when unfairly accused by those in power (e.g. court, state, police).
Salem witch trial and allegory on McCarthyism are the two levels of this play’s interpretation (the explicit and the implicit ones). Those, who are not familiar with the context in which the play was written, will more likely not understand the implicit meaning of it. The play is a playwright’s reaction to events that took place during the McCarthy era in the first half of 1950s. A lot of Americans were accused of being communists, spreading communist propaganda, or being soviet spies. Very often such accusations were false, however it soon developed into mass hysteria, with many people becoming victims of such injustice. Arthur Miller saw similarities between McCarthyism and Salem witch trials which resulted in writing this play.
The story To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee won the Pulitzer Prize, and in a short time has become a classic and is used in schools in the USA. The plot and inspiration of the characters are drawn from her family, neighbors and an event that took place in Alabama in 1936.
The novel tackles the issues or rape and racism, but she filled it with warmth and humor as well. The plot involves Tom who is accused of raping a white girl. The community is torn apart and Atticus decides to defend him. Despite the evidence that clears him, Tom is found guilty. The primary theme is that of racial injustice and the loss of innocence, with the lesser themes of class courage compassion and gender in the American deep south. In particular, there are three themes:
Innocence and Experience
There are three main children in the story who react to the harsh reality of the trial. All lose their innocence.
Dill panics and is filled with fear, Jem grows cynical and disillusioned with the so-called Justice system. Scout reacts more positively, hoping for social change. The main lesson the children learn is that in small towns people who do not conform become marginalized. They also see what adults do not about the loneliness and rejection people like Boo, Dolpus and Tom experience.