You are on page 1of 9

Essay Writing for Area of Study – some ideas.

Thesis or Line of Argument A thesis or line of argument should reflect your perspective and understanding of what you have been studying in relation to ‘Belonging’. It will be used to shape and direct your integrated response and will be supported and/or challenged by your prescribed text and texts of own choosing. In the past you would have been required to compose an exposition – an argument that presented your point of view on a topic. You had to employ topic sentences that furthered your line of argument and were supported by your main points and examples. The other type of text that you would have written would have been a discussion essay that also presented a line of argument, but included a consideration of both sides of the argument before arriving at a conclusion. The integrated response can take a variety of forms such as a speech or a formal essay but the response must still develop and sustain a thesis or line of argument like the exposition and discussion essay. Topic sentences that introduce the main idea of a paragraph/s are still significant features of the structure of the synthesis response. They are a signal or a signpost to the reader that your response is cohesive, logical and that your line of argument is sustained. The Prescription’s rubric requires you to: Consider aspects of belonging in terms of experiences and notions of identity, relationships, acceptance and understanding You are going to use these notions to begin developing your original theses or lines or argument. Firstly, brainstorm possible theses based on the texts you have examined and discussed on ‘Belonging’. A sheet of suggested theses has been included but don’t refer to this until you have developed your own Resource 1: Examples of Theses or Lines of Arguments Experience: · Our life experiences teach us that when you stop trying to belong you realise that you have always belonged. · We search for a place to belong, not realising that it is our perceptions and attitudes and not the place that allow us to belong. Notions of Identity: · When your cultural identity is marginalised you can feel dislocated and displaced, and believe that you do not belong to your culture or the dominant culture. · Our search for who we are is fuelled by a need to find a place in the world where we belong. Relationships: · The need to belong to a group or a community shapes our behaviour, attitudes and actions. · An individual has the potential to damage relationships and ensure that others do not belong. · When humanity experiences a strong (spiritual) connection to a place the notion of belonging is strengthened and enriched. · When our relationship with a place is shaped by a narrow and biased view of the world, our notion of Belonging can be questionable.

Acceptance: · The basic human need to be accepted and belong can cloud our judgments and direct our actions. No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main...any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. John Donne Understanding · When we begin to understand the forces that drive us to belong we develop empathy for others and personal insight. Making Connections in an Integrated Response When making connections between texts in your integrated response: * Use your thesis or line or argument to drive and shape the response rather than the texts. By doing this you are more likely to compose an integrated response as you will be using your prescribed text and texts of own choosing to develop, support and even challenge your thesis. *Don’t resort to just using a simple, brief link at the end or beginning of a paragraph. You can still do this, but this should not be your only connection. * Integrate your connections. As you are discussing a concept or an issue or a character, etc, make a connection to another text. Continue to do this throughout your response. When you move onto an indepth discussion of your next text, such as a text of your own choosing,continue to make connections. * Use connecting words such as: -Bycomparison … -Bycontrast … -On the other hand … -Linked to this concept … -A comparable use of …… can be seen in -Associated with this idea is …….. -A parallel can be drawn with … -A similar technique/idea is used in … -An extension of this idea can be seen in … -A development of this idea can be seen in … -A simplification of this idea can be seen in …. -Similarly -An aspect of this idea is developed in …. -An element of this is captured in ……. -Another way of portraying this is shown in …… -A comparable text is …

Sample Questions 1. ‘Belonging to a community or group has a significant impact on an individual’s sense of self’. Discuss this statement, focussing on how the composers of the texts you have studied represent the concept of ‘belonging’.

2. ‘Despite an individual’s desire to belong to a group or community, this is not always possible.’ How do the texts you have studied represent the processes and results of ‘belonging and/ or not belonging’? 3.You have been invited to write an article for a teenage magazine called Youth and Belonging. In your article, analyse the ways in which ‘belonging’ is represented in the texts you have studied.

Notes from “BoredofStudies’ BELONGING 1. Human Behaviour
• • • • • • • • • • • •

segregation intergration authority alienation assimilation individuality community identity exclusion acceptance conformity hypocracy

McCarthyism: a politically motivated practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. (in the 50's) Thesis Miller is commenting on the basic human and community instinct of self survival, forcing people to change their views so they can belong Miller is exploring the ways in which fear can divide a community.

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Props Sound effects stage direction lighting (used symbolically) Authorial commentary (text) Dramatic Irony Positioning of characters contrasting scenes allegory sound effects power of suggestion pace/pausing character relationships


Imagery: light/dark, stones/weight, heaven/hell, birds/flying-freedom, whips, paper/name

The Devil is a symbol of fear which is used to control people

The Crucible is a modern tragedy, forcing the characters to look at themselves and notice their flaws
• • •

Proctor and his relationship with Abigail and Elizabeth He is also placed into making alienating decisions His death reaffirms the importance of courage, integrity and humanity

The essence of drama is CONFLICT
• • • • •

Each act builds on the conflict Act 1: “I saw Goody Booth with the Devil” (Abigail) Act 2: “Aye, naked! And the wind, God's icy wind, will blow!” Act 3: “God is dead!” (Hale) Act 4: “The final drum roll crashes, then heightens violently”

Stage Directions:
• • •

Miller uses extensive stage directions and commentary. This can be used as a tool to bring you into the play to make you belong Or disengage you as it disrupts the play

• •

Historical setting to examine the human psyche Light and Dark is a common motif (humans innate goodness vs. inner evil)

The Language:
• •

Emotive language and repeated exclamations, which show conflicts Confronting imagery of force and evil

• • •

Chooses not to belong Refuses to name others which shows his humanity independent thinker, refuses authoritarian demands of church (Parris) who divides the community with his “fire and brimstone” attitude (I like not the sound of this 'authority'! Act I) But he is seen as someone who is threatening the cohesion of the community


• • • • •

Independent and free thinking, she has become hardened because she witnessed her parents slaughter She belonged to no family lack of love has made her: bitter, opportunistic, devoid of conscience and calculating Witchcraft indulges her desire to be unconventional She leads the girls to commit a terrible crime against humanity

• •

She feels as if she does not belong to her home She recognises her own flaws and therefore will help to rebuild communal belonging.

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Communal belonging can only be achieved through understanding, tolerance and compassion Mob mentality unites the members of the community who are bitter, ambitious and jealous Rebecca Nurse- exemplifies the attitude and values that are essential for a strong community From the beginning she questions the presence of evil/witchcraft, begs for common sense Her death shocks members of the community into action Individuals have the power to destroy communal belonging “Long-held hatreds of neighbours could now be openly expressed, and vengeance taken...” Giles says trouble has been brewing for years “...It's a deep thing, and dark as a pit” Parris is driven by greed and social acceptance, his relentless sermons on sins and the devil have divided the community Abigail's actions have been triggered by her insecurity regarding her reputation and her hatred for Elizabeth Church leaders have been too authoritarian The pressure to belong and conform has the potential to threaten independence Belonging to a group/community is not always a good thing Freedom and independence can become casualties of conformity (“a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it”)

• • •

The question must shape your answer Thesis must be developed and sustained personal response to how belonging is perceived and how your thoughts have changed

The Crucible is a play about the Salem witch trials in the 16th Century, written in the 1950's in response to commission of un-American activities held by Senator McCarthy. Miller wanted to highlight the similarities between the two events, just as Puritans accused each other of being witches and consorting with the devil as an excuse to eliminate personal and political rivals, Americans were accusing others of being communists to eliminate their own enemies. People of the town are: Strict, sombre, barbaric, dark, fanatics, united and defined by fear, minded each others business “To the European world the whole province was a barbaric frontier inhabited by a seat of fanatics”, this statement reflects the state of Miller's own town and the fanatic and sometimes blunt views of his community. “They believed in short that they held in their steady hands the candle that would light the world”. This is very similar to the feelings of the American people during the 1950's regarding the fight against communism. Quotes on Imagery pg 13 Through it's leaded panes the morning sunlight streams pg 15 the virgin forest was the Devil's last preserve, his home base and the citadel of his final stand. Pg 21 It's death drivin' into them, forked and hoofed pg 72 I'll tell you what's walking Salem- vengeance is walking Salem Quotes on Social Standing/Reputation pg 20 Abigail There be no blush about my name pg 20 Parris I have fought to bend these stiff-necked people to me pg 30 Abigail I never knew the lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women pg 85 Parris All innocent and Christian people are happy for the courts in Salem! Character Quotes pg 32 Rebbecca I have eleven children, and I have seen them all through their silly seasons pg 35 Parris There is either obedience or the church will burn like Hell is burning!, It is not for you to say what is good for you to hear pg 41 Proctor I have heard you to be a sensible man, Mr Hale. I hope you'll leave some of it in Salem __________________

The Crucible can be about belonging. It's all about communal belonging and how fear unifies and defines it. The community has been being divided by Parris with his "fire and Brimstone" attitude towards religion, but even before that Giles already hints at the trouble brewing "'s a deep thing, and dark as a pit". But you have the people like Proctor who are independant people and stand on their own two feet and then you have Parris and the Putnams who need to mind each others business and make sure that they know everything and who need to have that social acceptance. Abigail is an orphan and didn't belong to a family even after she lived with Parris and Betty. Her little 'girl group' is where she is supreme ruler and suddenly she has the power to change the community's opinions as they are ruled by fear. It can also be said that Goody (Elizabeth) Proctor, once she was betrayed by John, now feels as if she doesn't belong in her own home. Proctor doesn't belong because of his own choosing, which is due to the hatred of Parris.

• • • •

chooses not to belong in Salem society for he has sinned doesn't belong in family because of this doesn't belong in court - trying to overturn belongs to his own values as he chooses truth over lies.

• • •

only ligit way to belong is to accept status of child and obey rules belongs as she finds a place, a role and power in society wants to belong as a woman

Miller’s play deals with a warped concept of belonging: girls bound together through fear of being found out and fear of their ‘leader’, Abigail. You’re looking here at the multiplying of lies that are designed to protect, the strength of one ruthless girl and the power she has over others. Probably a contrast is the Proctor family – divided when we meet them, by Abigail, the impact of Abigail’s lies actually brings them back together. Proctor stands up for elizabeth and he for her and Proctor stands by what he believes, even though that separates him from the religious community. Remember, the play represents theMcCarthy trials in the 1950′s, a similar situation of lies forced through fear for self. One of Miller’s techniques is to write a political commentary on a current situation by writing about a more remote but similar situation in america’s history – the Salem withc trials. Other techniques: the role Abigail has in modelling behaviour for the frightened girls; Proctor as a tragic hero for standing up for his beliefs; the role of Mary Warren as a character who momentarily sees the truth but reverts because of fear.

The characters represent kinds of people; the numbers of accused are concentrated to the small community presented in the play. Millers prose passages give the reader of the play (not in this case the audience) additional information that gives a much fuller context to characters’ behaviour and to the background of the community.