Kakos' 6th Hour

Reactions and comments from my sixth hour Honors American Literature class.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Mysterious Unknown

"The edge of the wilderness was close by. The American continent stretched endlessly west, and it was full of mystery for them. It stood, dark and threatening, over their shoulders night and day, for out of it Indian tribes marauded from time to time, and Reverend Parris had parishioners who had lost relatives to these heathen" (Miller 5).

What role does this "edge of the wilderness" play in the lives of the characters so far?

10 Comments:

Blogger corey c said...

The edge of the wilderness is an example of the evil that the people can so easily fall into, just by walking into it. I find it odd that Salem found the forrest so develish, I think it was a way for Parris to scare the people even more into serving God. The wilderness is an example of the frightened suppression which all of the people experience. When the girls dance in the forrest it is also an example of them doing evil, they are dancing supposedly in the devils territory.

1:49 PM  
Blogger ryanp said...

I think that the "edge of the wilderness" playes a huge role in the lives of the characters. This "edge" kind of symbolizes the edge of civilization and the "animals" to these people. Although there are many Native Americans who live in these areas, the population of the city considers them and undeveloped society that has very primative methods. The characters in the story are also scared of the creatures that live in the wilderness because they represent the unknown which is associated with darkness, evil,withcraft, and the devil.

1:52 PM  
Blogger KristinC said...

The wilderness plays a huge role in the lives of the characters. They are unknowlegable of the land and whats lies west which creates a fear of the unknown. Taking into consideration their fear of God and the Devil their imaginations run away with them and create irrational fears. Also their lack of knowledge of the Indians also contributes becuase they view the Indians and their lands as a barbaric thing and refuse to understand or learn. As in any culture they view something outside of their normal as evil or primitive creating a barrier. We always fear what we don't understand.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Alexandra H said...

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1:55 PM  
Blogger allison n said...

The "edge of the wilderness" is the unknown. It is the character's fears and regrets. They only know what is in front of them and the forest is dark and frightening. The Indian Tribes are character's failures staring right at them, for they could not convert and make sense of these foreign people. The wilderness is tragedy. So far, nothing good can come, or will come, from these dark and uncharted territories.

1:55 PM  
Blogger A_Nielsen said...

The "edge of the wilderness" was both intimidating and questionable to the Puritans. They described it as being the last place that did not pay homage to God and that it was basically devil territory. At that time we had no knowledge that the American continent stretched from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

It played a role in the lives of the characters by being almost like a threatening place where the Native Americans inhabited. When someone went into the "edge of the wilderness" which was refered to as devil territory, fear and questions were likely to be brought up. The territory just stood there as a fearful and dangerous place in the everyday lives of the Puritans.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Christine D said...

The forest has already caused problems, we know that the girls have had dances in the forest and they have tried to raise the dead babies from the grave. We also know that Parris does not like the forest, and he thinks that it is the evil that is left on earth, for every were else god is present. I think that Parris does not like the forest, because it is very unknown. The puritans seem to like known things. The bible, for example, is very known to them because it is written out and it is the word of their god. I think that the puritans were scared of the unknown because it was not in the bible, and the events that happen in the mysterious forest definately are not in the bible.

Another important role of the forest is the modern way of looking at Salem. The forest easily could have been the location of the Ergot which could have caused the girls to be ill.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Alexandra H said...

I think the edge of the wilderness represents fear in the lives of the characters. The fact that the "...Indian tribes marauded from time to time.." in the wilderness shows what kind of 'evil' things can come through. Obviously, the people of Salem did not like Indians because they thought of them as dark and threatening. Because the girls were dancing in the wilderness, this could mean that evil things can come from that (the bad things that happen to the girls). I think that when things happen in the wilderness, bad things will be the outcome because the wilderness represents destruction and evil.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Aubry P. said...

I think that the "edge of the wilderness" makes the characters scared. They are very jumpy people and it seems like they are always looking over their shoulders to see if someone is watching. They look to see if God sees them sin, they look to see if their neighbors watch and gossip, they are nervous for any attacks from the Indians. The edge of the wilderness plays the role of the unknown. It plays the role of getting caught. It also plays the role of temptation. Everyone is scared but also curious of the west. People are curious of things they do not know or things that they should not know. The characters in this story are not supposed to do a lot of things because of their religion so they have many temptations.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Ryan S said...

The edge of the wilderness plays a big part in the characters through the first part of the play. The puritans believe that the wilderness is the only place that the devil still inhabits the earth and they also think that the Indians are devil people. I think this drives the witch theory because they think they are surrounded by the devil and when the girl gets sick in the forest they blame the devil who supposedly lives there. There lives are filled with constant religion and they can't think of another reason other than that the Devil came from the west.

12:50 PM  

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