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Fear and betrayal lead to harm in the occurrences of the Salem Witch trials, the McCarthyism/RedScare trials, and the treatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. During the Salem Witch trials people accused eachother of witchcraft due to fear of getting tormented or there being actual witchcraft done, but in reality there was no witchcraft being done, people were just being hysterical. The McCarthism/RedScare trials were similar in that people were just hysterical about communism taking over the U.S. without it being a major threat.
Innocent people that were accused of being communist spies would falsely accuse others to save their reputations and to not have their lives ruined. Fear of the Japanese bombing the U.S. during WWII took actions to another level when Japanese-Americans were forced to evacuate their homes to isolated camps, with harsh conditions and mis-treatment from American officials who were “protecting” them from Anti-Japanese mobs. Fear was successful in harming innocent people from unfair trials, the Salem Witch trials, McCarthism/RedScare trials, and treatment of Japenese-Americans being apart of that.
In Arthur Miller’s, “The Crucible ”, fear and betrayl played a role in which many characters dealt with internal and external conflicts. For example the character Mary Warren dealt with an internal conflict of fear of who she will stand with Abigail or John Proctor, but ends up saying, “I will not hang with you! I love God. I love God”(Miller 602). Mary said this to John Proctor, due to her internal fear of being in danger of conviction and rejection from Abigail and the other girls, her decison harmed Proctor and his wife Goody Proctor, with them being convicted of false accusations.
In Particular, Elizabeth Proctor had an external conflict with Abigail Williams in court when she stated, “Abigail brings the other girls into the court, and where she walks the crowd will part like the sea for Israel”(Miller 604). Elizabeth said this due to Abigail having power(like the power of God) to control and influence people in a harmful way. In conclusion each of the characters actions throughout the play had a damaging effect on the other characters hurting them physically or mentally.
The McCarthism/Red Scare trials started by American leaders mainly Joe McCarthy, who would push the idea that there was subversive communist influences everywhere, and would use lies to grow terror on others. For example McCarthy’s influence would cause, “Group consensus which seemed to induce a change of attitudes in which subjects are likely to adopt more extreme positions” (Henderson 6). Meaning that with the spread of communism “supposedly” growing, groups of people would feel influenced to spread the fear of communism and communist spies taking over. For instance, Alfred North Whitehead once said, “Civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them'(Henderson 7). Particularly, the American leaders didn’t think about the consequences of thier actions due to being hysterical about communism and instead accused innocent people of being communist spies without factual evidence. Overall the influence of McCarthy and fear of communism growing in America affected innocent American lives in a harmful way by them losing their jobs, homes, or even marriage.
In, “Why I Love a Country That Once Betrayed Me”, by George Takei, he talks about the difficulties of growing up in isolated camps during WWII and the harm it had on him and his family. For instance Takei would describe , “It became normal for me to go with my father to bathe in a mass shower. Being in a position, a barbed wire prision camp, became my normality”(Takei 6). For this reason Takei realized as he got older, the injustice of the government’s actions towards Japanese-Americans, on making them go through “prision-like” conditions, was an example of the bad democracy America had at the time. Not only that but, when the war ended, Takei stated that, “ They were penniless. Everything had been taken from them, and the hostility was intense. Their first home was on Skid Row12 in the lowest part of the city, living with derelicts…it was a horrible experience, and for us kids, it was terrorizing”(Takei 7). Takei’s family had to re-start their lives in bad conditions after having been in remote camps for years, as for the children had to grow up in an unsafe environment. In conclusion the American leaders betrayed many American-born or naturalized Japanese-Americans, harming their lives due to the fear of them bombing the U.S.
In James D. Houston and Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston’s, “Farewell to Manazanar”, Jeanne Wakatsuki shared her personal experience being in solitary camps with her family during WWII. For example Wakatsuki would decribe her relationship with her father as, “I remember telling myself that he never went out and never associated with others because he thought he was better than they were…”(J.W.Houston & J.Houston 3). Wakatsuki’s exerience was mainly feeling embarrased and terrified of her father, her father drank a lot and would often abuse her mother, due to his own experience in the camps. Apart from dealing with unfair treatment Japanese- Americans, “Early in February would have to do the government’s Loyalty Oath. Everyone seventeen and over was required to fill it out. This soon became the most divisive issue of all”(J.W.Houston & J.Houston 9). The Government Loyalty oath asked Japanese-Americans if they would join the war, and if they would go againt the Chinese emperor, in order to catch any espionage agents. The fear of Japanese-Americans bombing the U.S. lead, American Officals to betray Japanese- American citizens, in a harmful/dis-respectful way changing their lives in the long run.
Although fear and betrayal caused harm to many characters throughout the texts, fear also brought out the best in some characters. For instance John Proctor brought out the best of himself when he states, “Tell them I confessed myself; say Proctor broke his knees…, but my name cannot-”(Miller 677). Proctor sparked change in himself due to having dignity and doing what was right, instead of lying to save himself, he chose to only let out the truth. George Takei’s experience of fear and betrayal of America encouraged him to be, “dedicated to making an even better America, to making the government an even truer democracy, …he was a proud American”(Takei 15). In the long run, Takei and his family may have gone through many struggles during the WWII catastrophe, but it brought out pride and courage in Takei’s life. Fear and betrayal can often be known as a negative connotation, but there are benefits to dealing and overcoming fear, making people brave and determined.
Distress may have brought out the best in John Proctor and George Takei, but fear and betrayal caused major damage in their lives overall. John Proctor for example ended up getting hung due to him saying, “How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name”(Miller 678). Proctor refused to give up his name and self-esteem, even if that meant being executed and not being there for his wife, two children, and an unborn child, leaving them alone to take care for themselves. In George Takei’s situation, he did end up becoming successful throughout his life, but even then had to deal with racism when he states that, “He was four years old when Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan, and overnight, America was swept by hysteria and fear with outright hatred simply because I happened to look like the people that bombed Pearl Harbor”(Takei 3). Furthermore, Takei continued to experience racial discrimination even after the war has ended, making his life even more difficult to grow up into. In conclusion, the disloyalty/fright of representatives in each of the texts harmed guiltless people like John Proctor and George Takei, in a dreadful way.
Panic and treachery lead to harm in the cases of the Salem Witch trials, the McCarthyism/RedScare trials, and the treatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. Take the case of “The Crucible” that was based on the Salem Witch trials, in which many innocent people were harmed due to the psychological aspect of some of the characters that either believed witch-craft was taking place or sought out to seek revenge on others. During the McCarthyism/RedScare trials American leaders like Joe McCarthy for example, would feed on the idea that communism was taking over America dramatically and accused incorrupt people of being communist spies, shortly after that ruining their lives in an unfavorable way. In, “Why I Love a Country That Once Betrayed Me”, George Takei talked about the harm in being sent to isolated camps during WWII, with biased treatment from American officials and his family having to re-start their lives in bad conditions after the war. In addition James D. Houston and Jeanne Wakatsuki’s, “Farewell to Manazanar”, was similar to Takei’s story/exerience having to be relocated in camps during WWII, but Wakatsuki’s experience was different in that she also dealt with feeling discomfort from her father due to his abusive/bitter behavior. Fear and betrayal can cause emotional and physical harm to a person, it could sometimes be done purposefully or unintentionaly, either way one disloyal act can change the life and mentallity of a person in an unhealthy way.
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