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The Crucible

The Crucible


by Arthur Miller

Analysis: Writing Style

Simple, Old-Fashioned

"Dolls" are "poppets" and contractions (like "don't) are non-existent... but dropped g's are everywhere. What's going on? Well, Miller is trying to write in the simple language of Puritan country folks, while at the same time employing old-fashioned vocabulary and grammar.

Have a look-see:

ABIGAIL: She heard you singin' and suddenly she's up and screamin'.
MRS. PUTNAM: The psalm! The psalm! She cannot bear to hear the Lord's name!
PARRIS: No, God forbid. Mercy, run to the doctor! Tell him what’s happened here! Mercy Lewis rushes out.
MRS. PUTNAM: Mark it for a sign, mark it!
Rebecca Nurse, seventy-two, enters. She is white-haired, leaning upon her walking-stick.
pointing at the whimpering Betty: That is a notorious sign of witchcraft afoot, Goody Nurse, a prodigious sign!
MRS. PUTNAM: My mother told me that! When they cannot bear to hear the name of—
trembling: Rebecca, Rebecca, go to her, we're lost. She suddenly cannot bear to hear the Lord's name! (I.213-220)

You can also see that the narrative asides are slightly more complex and use standard 1950's language.

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