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Journal Topics for The Crucible Essay

As you read the play over the next few days, choose any 3 of the following topics and respond to them in a google document or on paper. Each response must be at least 250 words. You must include references to the text and provide support for all of your claims. Please use your best writing- no grammatical/spelling/capitalization errors- divide ideas using paragraphs etc. Each journal entry is 20 pts. You may do one more extra credit. Again, we are working on providing detailed support for your claims. Be specific!

1. Based on what happens throughout Act I, write a brief character description of Abigail Williams. What positive qualities does she seem to possess? What negative qualities does she possess? If she were a Westwood student, where might she “fit in” in terms of classes, activities, sports, etc.? Or would she? Explain. 2. What types of persuasive techniques does Abigail use to win Proctor’s affection in Act I? What arguments does she present, and what emotional tactics does she employ? Does she build a persuasive argument, or do you find problems with it? Explain.

3. At the end of Act I, Tituba, Abigail, and others accuse some of their neighbors of afflicting them. Give examples of individuals or groups today who accuse others of causing their problems. How would you evaluate their accusations? 4. Consider: how is the relationship between John and Elizabeth Proctor similar to an ice cream cone?? 5. Explain how Mary Warren’s character changes over the course of the first two Acts. How was she portrayed at the beginning of the play? How is she portrayed now? To what do you attribute these changes? 6. Puritan society pressured individuals to adhere to strict standards of conduct and belief. To what extent do you think society expects you to conform today? Is conformity always a bad thing? Always a good thing? Explain.

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7. Almost a century after the witch trials, delegates to the Constitutional Convention decided to make a clear separation between church and state. How might the court proceedings in Act III have differed if that separation had been in place in 1692? In current events following Sept. 11th, is there still a clear separation between church and state? Explain. 8. Explain how the storyline might be different if there were no Governor Danforth. How does his presence in the play affect the storyline? If he were removed, how might that affect the play overall?

9. Mary Warren is subjected to intense peer pressure from Abigail Williams and the other girls. How would you compare the intensity of the peer pressure she faces with that extended on young people today? What reasonable advice might you give Mary Warren for coping with the peer pressure she faces? 10. In Act IV, how does Elizabeth take part of the blame for her husband’s lechery? Is she justified? What does John’s response to Elizabeth tell you about his character development? 11. Think of a 20th-century person who suffered or died for his / her beliefs, and compare this person to John Proctor.

12. The Crucible was first produced in 1953, during Senator Joseph McCarthy’s congressional investigation to root out suspected Communists in the State Department, the entertainment industry, and the U.S. Army. In his pursuit of Communists, McCarthy sometimes accused individuals on the basis of flimsy evidence and innuendo. In what ways do you think The Crucible is a criticism of McCarthy and his ways? Given current events, what can this play teach us about identifying and prosecuting individuals suspected of terrorist activities? Support your opinion with details from the play.

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