by Mr. Mueller, Principal
As part of my responsibilities as an instructional supervisor, I recently observed
Mrs. Klampe's junior English class. The subject of the lesson was a review of
the play, The Crucible, by Arthur Miller. The play focuses on the Salem Witch
Trials in 17th century Massachusetts. Perfect timing. You know, October, Halloween,
witches - exactly. Written in the 1950's at the height of the Communist scare
following WWII and Korea, the play foreshadows McCarthyism, the 'witch hunt'
for Communist sympathizers that focused on many Americans, particularly in the
political and Arts community during this period. In the play and in 1950's America,
many lives were ruined by rumor and lies.
Rereading this play after 37 years (10th grade) has been a unique experience for me. I appreciate it much more now. Also, I really enjoyed working with Nick, Andy, Carmen, Jason, Ray, Robert, Kelly and Mrs. Klampe - they did a great job! The play also made me think about parallels to 9/11 and our reaction to world terrorism. More than anything, however, I drew comparisons between 'The Crucible' and high school life.
In the play, the trouble all starts with a lie. There are selfish reasons for the lie and, once told, the lie grows. The lie challenges the spiritual fabric of the community, causes the community to turn on itself, and many people suffer unnecessarily. For a variety of reasons, the citizens of Salem were afraid to stand up for the truth.
Sound familiar? Sure does. Rumors and lies are generally at the bottom of most problems we encounter today. Like the play, those telling lies and spreading rumors at school or home usually have problems of their own. Also like the play, it is hard to stop a rumor or lie once told. The crowd feeds off of negative energy. Rumors and lies are often told regarding sensitive subjects. Someone did this or that, something is so awful or harsh, everybody is holding everybody back, treating one group or another badly, or accusing someone of something they didn't do. It happened in The Crucible, it happens at school, and in just about every aspect of our lives. Talk about a universal theme!
We live in a society predicated on hype. We receive messages that tell us that if a person, place or event is not sensational, it is not worthwhile. Like the residents of Salem, we want to believe the 'hype.' Don't do it.
The next time you hear a rumor or gossip, be careful. Personal feelings can lead to damaging remarks that can hurt innocent people. Nothing is perfect. We live in an imperfect world. We have a great school, excellent teachers, students and families.
Stand up for what is right. Beware the season of the "Witch!"