The Crucible Unit
"Playwright Arthur Miller was personally affected by two major events of 20th century American history. In the 1930s, the Depression ruined his father financially. During the McCarthy era, Miller himself was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee to name people he had seen at a Communist writers' meeting. Miller refused and was found guilty of contempt of Congress, a conviction that was later overturned. Many critics consider The Crucible a critical commentary on McCarthy's persecution of Communists." (From: http://www.classzone.com/novelguides/authors/miller.cfm)
Throughout this unit, students will connect the events of McCarthyism and the Salem Witch Trials to other events of mass hysteria in history and in present day.
• Literature can be used to strengthen the individual and regain power
from those who would use it for their own purposes.
• Truth has no meaning when men believe only what they want to believe.
• What is the importance of individuality?
• How can people use their power to make a difference in their lives and
the lives of others?
• What are the risks and rewards of using the power of the individual?
Helpful Links and Information
"The Dying Girl Who No One Helped" article
American and British Tourists Save Lives in Train Terror Attack in France
History of the Salem Witch Trials Film
The Crucible Slide Share
Original Review of The Crucible
"Arthur Miller Admits Helping the Communist Front Groups" by Drury / New York Times
"Arthur Miller and Dr. Nathan Indicted on Contempt Charges" by Loftus / New York Times
"Miller Convicted in Contempt Case by Loftus/ New York Times
"Miller is Cleared of House Contempt" by Lewis/ New York Times
The Power of One You Tube Video
Arthur Miller's "Why I Wrote The Crucible"
Forty Questions with Answers about Senator McCarthy - (Is there more to McCarthy than popular history tells us?)
Information about McCarthyism
PBS Interview with a Hollywood Blacklister
Use the Primary Source Documents towards the End of this Page to learn about the Salem Witch Trials (Hint: Use this for your newspaper assignment!)
McCarthyism and The Crucible Connection