Wilbur and The Crucible

Reading “Love Calls Us to the Things of the World,” I was struck by both the jaded perspective of the narrator and the relentless hope he maintains inspite of that perspective. To me, this is a poem about rising each day to face an imperfect world. The dawn of a new day brings a purity into our lives that is soon corrupted by the evils of the world. Regardless, the narrator faces this corruption with cautious optimism. This attitude reminds me of John Proctor’s stand at the end of The Crucible. Knowing he could not change circumstances around him, he refused to change his own beliefs to fit those circumstances. He refused to stay in bed, if you will. It cost him his life but gave him back his dignity just before the end. I guess the question here is whether we would be able to do the same. When the alarm goes off in the morning, it would be so much easier to stay in bed and away from the world. College life is full of pressure and is not short on corruption. With that said, how many of you share Wilbur’s optimism and Proctor’s conviction? Moreover, is there a reason why you share those values?

-Brenden

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Danielle Ross

After reading the play I thought to myself that John Proctor, overall, was a good man.  He made one  mistake, which in the end cost him his reputation.  It reminded me of today’s postmodern society and how we often times expect perfection from our peers, especially individuals who are constantly in the public eye.  Why do you think this is still relevant?  Do think that history/tradition is one of the reasons why this is or is not an issue?

The Kinsey Reports

The Kinsey Reports

 

The Main Points

  • Two books on human sexual behavior (Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female)
  • Written after a study done by zoologist Dr. Alfred Kinsey, founder of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction
  • Published in 1948 and 1953
  • The original studies were conducted five years apart—first on men, then on women
  • Over 10,000 men and women were interviewed about their sexual habits
  • There was a 7 point scale used to determine sexual orientation:

     Rating

Description

          0

Exclusively heterosexual

          1

Predominately heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual

          2

Predominately heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual

          3

Bisexual

          4

Predominately homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual

          5

Predominately homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual

          6

Exclusively homosexual

 

(Asexuality and Pansexuality were not included)

 

(Today, sexologist view the scale as relevant to sexual orientation, but not comprehensive enough to deal with all sexual identity issues.)

The Findings

  • Found that people in America were doing all sorts of “taboo” things.
  • Showed that about 4% of men were exclusively homosexual
  • About 2-6% of females were exclusively homosexual
  • About 46% of men had “reacted” sexually to persons of both sexes; 37% of men had had some sort of homosexual experience leading to orgasm
  • 20% of women had had some sort of homosexual experience; 13% had had one that led to orgasm
  • 12% of females and 22% of males reported having an erotic response to a sadomasochistic story
  • Showed that women were less sexually active than men on all accounts, but still more sexual than traditional views allowed.
  • Showed that men and women were more alike in their biological sexuality than originally thought and that sexuality seemed shaped by and oppressed by social and cultural forces
  • The methodology of the study was called into question citing two main problems: that large samples used were prison inmates and male prostitutes and that those who would volunteer to discuss taboo subjects are likely to suffer from the problem of “self selection” which would cause a bias in the results
  • In response, Kinsey’s successor Paul Gebhard, cleaned the reports and republished in 1979 and stated that none of Kinsey’s original estimates were significantly affected by this bias

The Reactions

  • The release of these reports caused a huge scandal.
  • Over 200,000 Americans bought copies of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male in the two months after its publication
  • The release of Sexual Behavior in the Human Female  brought about an even greater reaction. By this time America had entered the Cold War  and was in the midst of McCarthyism. A congressional committee launched an investigation into Kinsey’s and his funders’ possible connections to the Communist Party; after this the researcher lost his funding
  • Rev. Billy Graham said it would bring about the destruction of American Christian values.
  • Showed that homosexuality was not as rare as originally thought and therefore it could not really be pathological because with those numbers you could not have a functioning society. (This was published at a time when the DSM still considered homosexuality sociopathic.)
  • One of the greatest things the release of these reports did was bring sex to the forefront of culture so it could be discussed intelligently rather than stay hidden in bedrooms.

 

Here’s the link to actual articles written after the publication:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/kinsey/sfeature/sf_response.html

And here’s the youtube link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ji1pXGkwECs

Power in The Crucible

Power seems to be a huge theme in The Crucible. Before the witch trials, most people were powerless. A lot of people took advantage of the witch trials to gain power. They did this by accusing others of witchcraft to gain fame too. One of the people who I think used witchcraft to gain power is Elizabeth. Even though she may not have used it directly, she ended up being one of the last women standing.

What do you all think?

 

 

-Samka

The psychology behind The Crucible

In class today we started really discussing The Crucible and Jonathan pointed out that the book is mainly about the betrayal of others and what we as people do when fear overwhelms us. Brenden pointed out, as it can be said for all of our history, that we repeatedly become what it is that we are rebelling against. Even though this is a bit of a psychological question, I was wondering why you all thought that we do this. Why do we become what we most hate? And why is it we choose sides in a battle, say false things we don’t mean, and later regret? Why do all the girls in the story call others witches; is it just to protect themselves (their punishment wouldn’t be that severe), or is it something else? What makes a person able to command another to death? Just something to think about…

-Sorry this is late..

-Savanna Beach

The Crucible

After doing my research on the Hollywood Blacklist, I found out that Arthur Miller was one of the many professionals in the film industry that was blacklisted.  This inspired him to write The Crucible.  After being blacklisted, he traveled to Salem, Massachusetts to research the witch trials.  From there, he compared the Salem Witch Trials of the 1600s to the HUAC Trial’s of the 1940’s and 1950’s.  I’ve noticed in the book that witnesses on trial are first accused of being witches and are then asked to identify other witches.  In the Blacklisting Trials, people were first asked if they were a Communist and then asked to identify other Communists.  In the book, everybody is pointing fingers at everybody; which is how many people in Hollywood lost friends, co-workers, and even spouses.  Many of these trials become famous works of literature.  One of my favorite plays, Inherit the Wind is also eerily similar.  It is based on the true story of the Scopes Monkey Trials; about overly religious people in Tennessee persecuting a teacher for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution in the 1930s.  Much like witchcraft in The Crucible, evolution in Inherit the Wind is dismissed as devil’s work because it does not follow traditional Christian beliefs.  Anybody else think that the Crucible compares with any other prominent events in time?

Erika Koerner

Film Noir — Evan Donahue

Origins

Originally coined by French film critic Nino Frank in 1946, Film Noir was the term used to describe the gritty, black and white crime dramas that emerged post WWII. Many of the films described as “noir” reflected the tensions of the time period, namely fear, distrust, and despair, with most of these insecurities coming from the looming Cold War. Film Noir is not technically a genre, but more of a time period, roughly ranging from the mid 1940s to the early 1960s. When film makers set out to create their movie, they most likely weren’t consciously trying to create a Noir. Film Noir was rooted in the German Expressionist movement of the 1920s and 1930s which included films like “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920) and “M” (1931). Movies from this movement were known for their stark camera angles, use of light and shadow, and high contrast images. The most famous Film Noir directors include Orson Welles, John Huston, Billy Wilder, Edgar Ulmer, Fritz Lang, Otto Preminger, and Henry Hathaway.

Themes

Melancholy, bleakness, disillusionment, disenchantment, pessimism, ambiguity, moral corruption, evil, guilt, desperation and paranoia

Heroes (more commonly anti-heroes) were typically morally ambiguous characters, and their role as protagonists were often indistinguishable from classic villains

The most common role for women was that of the Femme Fatale. Mysterious, beautiful, two-faced, and predatory, these ‘Fatales’ were the most common source of the twisting story-lines and convoluted plot-twists

Popular Works

  • Stranger on the Third Floor (Boris Ingster, 1940)
  • High Sierra (Raoul Walsh, 1941)
  • The Maltese Falcon (John Houston, 1941)
  • Shadow of a Doubt (Alfred Hitchcock, 1943)
  • Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944)
  • The Woman in the Window (Fritz Lang, 1944)
  • The House on 92nd Street (Henry Hathaway, 1945)
  • Mildred Pierce (Michael Curtiz, 1945)
  • The Blue Dahlia (George Marshall, 1946)
  • The Lady from Shanghai (Orson Welles, 1947)
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends (Otto Preminger, 1950)
  • Strangers on a Train (Hitchcock, 1951)
  • The Killing (Stanley Kubrick, 1956)
  • Touch of Evil (Welles, 1958)