The Crucible

I actually wasn’t aware that The Crucible had anything to do with the cold war, but that comparison really made me appreciate the play more. The story becomes richer when you think of it as just an earlier example of the human potential for mass hysteria, which was also present in Miller’s time. The cultural transcendence of this issue, which can only be fully understood after knowing the historical context and message of the play, is impressive. The differences between these two examples of hysteria (cold war and witch hunt hysteria) is also interesing. There were real communist spies within America, but there were no witches in sixteenth century Salem. This demonstrates how strong of an emotion fear is. The objective truth doesn’t seem to be as important, even in the cold war/Mccarthy scenario. Rather mass fear and paranoia can create reality for all intensive purposes, and justify deplorable actions as it did in Salem, and for people like Mccarthy. Such justification of craziness brings to mind the complacency of people and their active ignorance of the evils of society we discussed in regards to Heart Of Darkness. Once things are made official and legitimate, or as Conrad put it “efficient”, (as “efficiency is saves us”) seemingly immoral acts can become justified or necessary to people.

On another note, I’m unclear, although interested, about how observing tragedy can be therapeutic, as was mentioned in lecture. Is it a case of morbid fascination and taking comfort in knowing we don’t have it as bad as any given tragic hero does?

Heart Of Darkness post

Heart Of Darkness was one of the books I enjoyed reading most this year in arts one. For me at least, the plot and narration of the novel was one of the most absorbing of anything on the syllabus. I think part of the reason why I was so captivated was because of the ongoing mystery of ‘the darkness’ and its specific nature, which was left pretty vague. I think the setting and general premise of the book worked perfectly to lead me on, beckoning me to continue reading with the promise of a dark secret being told. The sinister depiction of the river and unsettling images of the workers and natives made me want to understand why they were like this. I was especially unsettled by the description of the workers at the stations, who seemed to be only feigning true purpose, and working to no particular end. As was mentioned in lecture, it is easier to be occupied with a specific job that society deems necessary than to rise above that job and realize ‘the horror’ of the world,which you may actually be contributing to. The therapeutic facade of work demonstrated by the company employees really expressed to me how daunting and fearful the realization of one’s own complicity can be, and how blindly going about a task is a perhaps more appealing alternative.