Fear, Propaganda, and Hysteria

The CrucibleOne of the most famous of plays written in the 1950s in the midst of McCarthyism and the “witch hunts” accusing artists, actors, musicians, and people in many walks of life of being Communists was Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. It uses the allegory of the Salem witch hunts to spotlight the effect fear, propaganda, and hysteria can have on a community. The Loud Silence of Francine Green is set in southern California, where the accusations and suspicions cut deeply into the community of the movie studios and the thousands of people who worked for them.

On PBS, American Masters aired Arthur Miller, Eliza Kazan and the Blacklist: None Without Sin (2003). There are resources on their site that would work well to accompany reading Francine Green and discussing the fear that arises when oppressive tactics are fomented by people in power.