Catcher in the Rye..John Proctor and Me a comparison author=Arthur Miller

Essay by Punjabi-Bl00dzHigh School, 11th gradeA+, August 2008

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In Arthur Miller’s famous play, The Crucible, a young but intelligent man by the name of John Proctor shows heroic characteristics by defying authority and deciding to go to the gallows instead of compromising with the Church admitting that he was a witch. Set in a town of chaos, Proctor finds himself in a difficult situation in which his decision not only decides his fate, but the fate of many innocent people like him. To me, John Proctor is a hero and somewhat an idiot at the same time; if I were standing in his shoes I would not give my life away like him.

In the community, people look upon John Proctor as a very respected member of society. His image represents a good, decent man of Salem village. When the travesty of witchcraft draws its claws closer and closer to Salem, John is determined to take a stand and undermine the heinous abomination.

His courage and perseverance draws a path to others like Giles Corey to speak out against the court and stand for what they believe is true. In a way John Proctor makes a very good decision because he left this world without a blackened name. For example, when John Proctor signs the paper stating that he is a witch, he says, “No, no. I have signed it. You have seen me. It is done! You have no need for this (142). John Proctor is trying to say that he doesn’t want the public to be aware of his plea. Instead he wants the entire story to be sealed and kissed away goodbye and not made aware to the public. One reason why John Proctor’s decision isn’t correct is because his wife and upcoming child will always lack the male presence in their household. Proctor was the main source for money and food in his household, now that he is dead, where will money for basic necessities for his pregnant wife come from? If John Proctor had compromised with the church, he would still be able to live, and he could’ve tried to reveal the true face of Abigail Williams and bring her to justice instead of just dying. Abigail Williams is the root of all this chaos because it was her craziness that all this started. For example when Abigail states, “She made me do it! She made Betty do it! (43), she is pointing to the fact that Tituba, her slave, started everything. Because of this one lie, Abigail had to lie twenty more times to cover up and that eventually led to the execution of John Proctor.

If I were in the shoes of John Proctor I would have gone a completely different direction by signing the document and admitting even though falsely that I was a witch. I’d be able to take care of my wife and upcoming child instead of leaving them penniless in the middle of life. Besides, nobody would really care if I had that stain on my name because secretly everybody would agree with me because they knew Parris was corrupt and that Abigail Williams was lying. I would be able to live a happy life with my family. Even if some people were talking behind my back and gossiping, I would just move to another city where nobody would know me and start life afresh. Nobody would know who I was, or that I had ever agreed to the fact that I was a witch. I don’t have the guts to stand up to authority the way John Proctor did and end my life. Besides, my values tell me to always keep my family ahead of myself and always live with integrity.

Although the decision of John Proctor was questionable to me in my mind, he still made an ok decision by going to the gallows, but my choice would have been to live and try to forget what had happened.

Reference: Patrick, Oppmann. "Catcher in the Rye." CNN. November 28 2007. CNN. 5 Jun 2008 .