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Circle Of Dominoes Essay

1388 words - 6 pages

A circle of dominoes is a very delicate edifice. Just one starts to fall from the rigid structure it is a part of, as it falls clipping another, and soon all of the dominoes are on the floor in pieces; the structure that keeps them organized shattered. This same idea is applicable to society, which is susceptible to disorder from even the smallest push of a force. People who deviate from the social norm provide this force, as they can be seen as threatening because they do not acquiesce with what society values and deems acceptable. This fear pervades the community, inspiring exaggerated reactions and chaos. In the grip of this hysteria, irrational decisions are made, and those who divagated or are associated with the diverged party can be unfairly blamed for actions they did not commit. This is the very definition of a witch hunt, wherein a minority group is harshly prosecuted by the majority for their differences without cogent reason.
Throughout history, the actions of individuals have dictated the course that society will take, and this remains true both in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible and in present day. As a whole, society wants to be unified; the same in values and deeds. But there are always those that chafe against the homogeny, who defy the authority of the group, and they can be seen as very ¬¬¬-frightening and hostile. In The Crucible, this role was manifested by the young girls of Salem, who defied the expectations that they be demure and chaste when they danced in the woods, even when it meant that they would “be whipped if [they] must be” (I. 1030). They rebelled against the adult’s authority, and it scared the adults that the children had the ability to “compromise [their] very character” (I. 1031) so severely. The childrens’ actions eventually led to the Salem Witch Hunt, which had a profound effect on that society, and on rules about prejudice today. Differences can also be threatening in the modern world, as seen in the persecution of Communists in America during the Red Scare in 1947. Tensions with Russia were high during that time because of the Cold War and the nuclear threat that it entailed. As such, Americans targeted all those that could be related to Russia, which took the form of being Communist. Also, America is a relatively new nation, only a couple of hundred years old, and its members are defensive of its government because it has not had the test of time to prove its effectiveness. Communism was seen as a threat because it was a system very different from the current democratic republic, and one that could potentially undermine all that America stands for. The correlation between the events portrayed in The Crucible and those that occurred during the Red Scare prove that people feel endangered when there are dissimilarities between what their society values and what a minority within their society holds in esteem. This is the first step towards the development of witch hunts, since differing from the social...

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