Youth Violence in the Crucible, the Outsiders, and Lord of the Flies


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It's a common fact that a scary story can be roughly ten occasions extra disturbing if its antagonists are youngsters. This can be a widespread motif in supernatural tales (The Flip of the Screw, The Omen, The Shining), however extra terrifying nonetheless are the tales with nothing paranormal about them.

Take, for instance, Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible." Set within the 1600's, it begins with a innocent youngsters's dance within the woods and ends with the hangings of round twenty harmless individuals. However that's nothing in comparison with what occurs within the center.

Bitter after having related a secret affair with John Proctor, a younger Abigail Williams lashes out towards him and the village at giant by accusing kind of everybody and their mom of witchcraft. Some unsavory truths are unearthed, however for probably the most half, we merely witness younger women having to decide on between the giving and receiving ends of all of the finger pointing. Those that stay impartial are as broken because the accused. (Sorry, Switzerland.)

If the way back, faraway setting provides you some consolation, keep in mind that The Crucible was written through the Chilly Conflict, when liberal, vocal, or just unpopular People have been repeatedly tried as "Communist supporters." Miller, who was blacklisted from Hollywood for opposing the Home of Un-American Actions Committee, wrote the play as an allegory equating McCarthyism with Darkish-Age considering – to not point out, a bunch of hysterical pre-teenagers. (Oh, snap!)

To kick the creepy up a notch, let's quick ahead from seventeenth century New England to a tiny island within the Pacific, the place a bunch of correct English boarding-faculty lads are within the throes of civilization-constructing. And within the absence of any adults, it isn’t going nicely. (Simply think about what would occur if Harry, Rob, Draco, and Goyle have been all on an island collectively.) That is William Golding's Lord of the Flies – and it isn’t no Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Earlier than lengthy, the boys are preventing over hearth, searching wild boars, donning struggle paint, and, oh yeah, brutally murdering one another. It's sufficient to make you rethink that entire babysitting factor. What's extra, the story is about towards the backdrop of an unnamed intercontinental warfare – ie an formally sanctioned "grownup" battle. By holding an unsightly mirror to grownup violence, the novel calls for to know what makes one battle extra official than the opposite.

Unsurprisingly, the guide has been the topic of controversial ever since its publication – not due to it portraits graphic violence, which we get a kick out of each week on CSI, however as a result of it portraits graphic violence conduced by youngsters. (Who, as everyone knows, are delicate flowers.) Excessive ironic ethical of the story: put violence again within the palms of adults the place it belongs.

Our subsequent story brings us out of the tropical jungle and into the city jungle, the brand new frontier of kid violence. The Outsiders, written by then-fifteen-yr-previous SE Hinton, follows the story of a excessive-faculty gang member who witnesses after which writes concerning the brutal deaths of three of his associates. Along with taking an unflinching take a look at the truth of kid violence, Hinton demonstrates how individuals on the fringes of society are compelled to vie for energy.

Whereas the story doesn’t have the hysteria issue of a witch hunt or the what-if issue of the desert island state of affairs, what it does supply is the terrifyingly actual issue of … the actual. Extraordinary circumstances cannot clarify away the truth that tales like this occur each day in trendy America, which is why The Outsiders is probably the most terrifying of all three works. The unlikelihood of getting trapped in some distant jungle together with your much less cherished schoolmates? We'll take that over gang warfare any day.


Source by Paul Thomson