Each Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

Day 19) S is for Short Stories: Choose a collection of Short Stories

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The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

I don’t remember when I first read this book, but I know it was after Fahrenheit 451Out of all his short story collections; this is my ultimate favorite. The stories range from funny, thoughtful, and downright creepy. It is an incredible collection and once you start, you just can’t stop.

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The Illustrated Man starts with an average joe taking a walking tour in the summer of Wisconsin. As he stops for the night he is come upon by an illustrated man.

This man used to work for the circus, but back in 1900 he broke his leg. Looking for a way to make money while he rested, he went to a tattoo artist who covered him from neck to belt. What he didn’t know was that this tattoo artist was a witch.

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Yes, she infused his illustrations with magic making them be alive and always moving telling their story.

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However, there is one blank spot on his back. If you are a woman, you see your whole life from birth to old age. If you are a man, you see how you die.

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The illustrated man warns his companion not to look, but he doesn’t listen and has to see them…

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Illustration I: The Veldt

The Lion King

This is what the DCOM Smart House is loosely based on.

The live in the future in a smart house that does everything for them. They even can change the pictures on the walls to be anything they want them to be. The children constantly want it to be a veldt with lions.

The parents try to discipline their children and get them to do more but all they want to do is sit around and have the machines do everything for them. The parents determine it is time to turn off the house and go back to how things are supposed to be. Will the parents be able to change their kids? Or will the kids make sure their parents can never boss them around again?

“The lions look real, don’t they?…I don’t suppose there’s any way—–‘

‘What?’

‘—that they could become real?”

Illustration II: Kaleidoscope

Space Mountain

The crew of a space ship has been torn apart, and this records their last thoughts as they hurl toward Earth.

“It was so very odd. Space, thousands of miles of space, and these voices vibrating in the center of it.”

Illustration III: The Other Foot

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Mars has been colonized only by African Americans. Now they hear that European Americans are traveling to Mars and decide to institute a Jim Crow law for them. Will they decide to make them pay for past wrongs, or will they all be able to start a new life in equality?

“This is the other shoe, Mayor, the other foot…”

Illustration IV: The Highway

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A husband and wife live by a highway in rural Mexico, where people stop all the time. Something seems to be more pressing than usual, but what?

“Oh, please hurry!’ one of the girls cried. She sounded very high and afraid.”

Illustration V: The Man

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A crew arrive on a planet ready to have glory and fame, but find the people uninterested as the person who came before them brought extreme happiness and bliss. One crewman believes him to be Jesus and wants to learn from the people. The Captain, however, is set on getting his glory and will stop this man any way he can.

“Leave these people alone. They’ve got something good and decent, and you come and foul up the nest and sneer at it. Well, I’ve talked to them too. I’ve gone through the city and seen their faces, and they’ve got something you’ll never have–a little simple faith, and they’ll move mountains with it. You, you’re boiled because someone stole your act, got here ahead and made you unimportant.”

Illustration VI: The Long Rain

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We have colonized Venus, but it is a horrible place of endless rain. Sun domes were built to help us stay sane and in health, and this story follows a group of astronauts as they hope to make it to the dome, but will they?

“Drops fell and touched other drops and they became streams that trickled over his body, and while these moved down his flesh, the small growths of the forest took root in his clothing.”

Illustration VII: The Rocket Man

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Astronauts are hard to come by and a hard life, so those that are astronauts are paid a lot, but gone for months. This story is the relationship of the mother and son as they deal with the father/husband’s absence.

“Doug…I want you to promise me something.’

‘What?’

‘Don’t ever be a Rocket Man.”

Illustration VII: The Fire Balloons

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A group of priests go to Mars to start a church and help bring peace and morals to a crazed group of colonists. One priest makes it his mission to try and bring Christ to the Martians.

“We feel absurd here—even I; for it is something new, this business of converting the creatures of another world.”

Illustration IX: The Last Night of the World

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A married couple realize that today is the last day on Earth. How would you spend your time if you had such an inclination?

“What would you do if you knew this was the last night in the world?”

Illustration X: The Exiles

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On Earth, countless literature from Edgar Allen Poe to William Shakespeare to Charles Dickens have been banned on Earth. They remain alive on Mars as their last books are still undamaged there. But when humans decide to completely destroy every page, these characters and their creators decide to wage a war on them. Will they win?

“His last book gone. Someone on Earth just now burned it.’

‘God rest him. Nothing of him left now. For what are we but books, and when those are gone, nothing’s to be seen.”

Illustration XI: No Particular Night or Morning

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Two friends are traveling in a spaceship, as one determines that nothing exists that he cannot touch. Is he right and there is nothing in space but emptiness?

“So I began to find gaps between everything. I doubted I was married or had a child or ever had a job in my life…I couldn’t prove anything.”

Illustration XII: The Fox and the Forest

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In the future, the world is an ugly one full of war and life in a factory creating more weapons of war. The one bright spot is the ability to travel back in time. A couple, William and Susan Travis, decide to run for their lives by remaining in 1930s Mexico. But will their plan work, or will they be captured and sent back?

“Save me, hide me, help me! Color my hair, my eyes; clothe me in strange clothes. I need your help. I’m from the year 2155!”

Illustration XIII: The Visitor

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Mars is a place where those with deadly diseases go and live out the remainders of their days. One day a young boy comes with the ability to create any image or bring back any memory. He plans to use it and rule over the others; but will they be willing to share or will they take him for what they want?

“Come on. Don’t you realize what’ll happen once they discover your talent? They’ll fight over you. They’ll kill each other–kill you–for the right to own you.”

Illustration XIV: The Concrete Mixer

The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Mars goes to invade Earth, but instead finds the people welcoming them. One Martin, Ettil, never wanted to travel to Earth. He finds that although the Earthlings hope to exploit Martians, the Earth ways will also mark death for the Martians.

“Don’t you feel it?’ he whispered…Something’s going to happen to us. They have some plan. Something subtle and horrible. They’re going to do something to us-I know.”

Illustration XV: Marionettes, Inc.

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A man is tired of his clingy wife and pays for a cyborg double to take his place so he can go off and have fun. But what if the puppet is no longer satisfied at being controlled and wants to control the strings?

“Your wife is rather nice,’ said Braling Two. ‘I’ve grown rather fond of her.”

Illustration XVI: The City

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A group of astronauts land on an uncharted planet and find an empty city. But they soon realize this city is not as empty as it looks, as it has been waiting to unleash what it was made for.

“I am no longer your captain,’ he said. ‘Nor am I a man.’

The men moved back.

‘I am the city,’ he said, and smiled.”

Illustration XVII: Zero Hour

Miscommunication is always funny as a kid. Not so much later on in life.

Kids are playing that aliens are coming, an invasion in which they will rule and the grow ups will be gone. But what if it isn’t a game?

“Mom, I’ll be sure you won’t be hurt much, really!”

Illustration XVIII: The Rocket

From the film Stargate.

From the film Stargate.

Fiorello Bodoni has saved $3000 to send a family member into space, but only one can go. Which one?

“We will remember it for always, Papa. We will never forget.”

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In the end the last image is shown, our narrator’s death by the illustrated man. He runs for town, but will he make it?

Along came a spider morgan freeman running

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But the good kind of trauma.

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to She Struck Him as a Fixer-Upper, a Block of Clay Ready for Pygmalion’s Chisel: The Overnight Socialite

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For more on Ray Bradbury, go to It’s A Fan World After All

For more on aliens, go to I Can Make You all Go Away! Any Time I Want To!: Charlie X, Star Trek (1966)

For more bible verses, go to So You’re the Little Woman Who Wrote the Book that Made this Great War: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

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In The Exiles, they mention how no one believes in Santa Claus and he has become a shadow of the man he was, a skeleton in red. No more Christmas, no more.

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This reminds me of the song I Believe in Santa Claus. This was written by Maury Laws and Jules Bass and used for the Christmas Special, The Year Without a Santa Claus.

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I never believed in Santa Claus, but I like this song as it reminds you that no matter what happens you must hold on to the spirit of Christmas.

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No matter what, always believe in its goodness and love.

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This song was performed by Mickey Rooney and Ron Marshall

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For more on The Year Without a Santa Claus, go to A Baker’s Four Dozen

For more Christmas Carols, go to A Quest of Swords and Wizards: The Crown Conspiracy

A Quest of Swords and Wizards: The Crown Conspiracy

Day 17) Q is for Quest: Choose a book in which the characters go on a Quest

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So a quest? Which book to do? There are so, so many to choose from.

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I thought and thought and finally settled on:

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The Crown Conspiracy (The Riyria Revelations #1) by Michael J. Sullivan

I know I’ve talked about this before on here, but I wanted to bring it back as it was such a fantastic story.

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And I think more need to know about it.

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So four years ago I had just come back from class and after dropping off my bags and books I got on the computer to check my email. When I went on, I was notified by the school’s post office that I had received a package and needed to go pick it up as it was too big to put in my box.

ooh!

ooh!

I was surprised as I hadn’t ordered anything or was expecting anything from anyone, so I couldn’t wait to pick it up. When I got it, I didn’t recognize the sender’s label and had no clue who it was.

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When I got home I opened the package and saw Theft of Swords-Volume I of The Riyria Revelations containing The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha by Michael J. Sullivan.

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I was completely puzzled. Who was this who sent this to me? How did I get it?

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Then I realized, I must have won it on GoodreadsGoodreads does drawings in which you win a free book, and all you have to do is give an honest review and post it on the site. I used to enter in every drawing for every book and the books I had won prior to this all had not been very good.

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So when I received this book I wasn’t very thrilled to read it. In fact I put it off for a long time until my curiosity got the better of me. One day I decided to read a few pages and see what it was all about.

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Well one page turned into many as I just couldn’t put it down.

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After I consumed the novel I had to keep going, reading the second book and then trying to locate the rest. There weren’t any at the local or college library so I had to Inter Library Loan them and wait…

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Finally they came and I just devoured them, the rest of my life taking a back seat as I had to find out what happened next.

Or class. Or lunch. Or anything!

Or class. Or lunch. Or anything!

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Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melbourn are two of the greatest thieves you could ever go against. Their duo goes by the name Riyria, that name being known throughout the land.

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At the beginning of the novel, the two are heading to work on a job when they are stopped by some thieves. All they have to do is say who they and they scare the others off like rabbits.

Run Away

They head off to try and rob Archie Ballentyne, the Earl of Chadwick, by breaking into his impenetrable tower.

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Meanwhile, Archie Ballentyne has been waiting for Marquis Victor Lanaklin. Archie has unsuccessfully been trying to woo his daughter, Alenda, as he is after the Lanaklin lands. He has managed to intercept some of her private love letters to the rebel Degan Gault, and wants to use them as leverage with the father. In order to keep them safe he has locked then in his study in the crown tower, a gigantic tower with only one entrance, the only one who can open it being Archie.

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But when he goes to show the letters, they are MISSING! They have been stolen, along with the Marquis’ carriage. Who could have done this? Riyria.

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They return back to their pub and deliver the goods to Alenda, receiving their payments.

Today life is great

Today life is great

But just as one job is finished, there appears there is another who wishes their services.

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Hadrian goes to meet with the man, Baron Delano DeWitt. He has a job that needs to be done tonight. Sadly, Baron DeWitt has committed the biggest mistake anyone in that region could, he looked upon the wife of the master swordsman, Colonel Pickering. Colonel Pickering will duel anyone who stares at his wife, and with his skill he is impossible to beat.

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His only weakness? His special rapier that he cannot fight without. Baron DeWitt has stolen the sword and hid it in the castle’s chapel and he wants Riyria to smuggle the sword out of the castle before they search and  find it.

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Now Riyria has a rule about accepting rush jobs, they don’t. But Hadrian isn’t really a thief, he has a warrior’s heart. He likes things to be fair or to fight for something “right”, justice, etc.

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He has felt a little disheartened at stealing things for royals, then notifying the party they stole from to get payment to steal it back. This is a job that will mean something. Plus the pay is really good.

Hmmm....

Hmmm….

Royce was raised on the streets and has been a thief as far back as he can remember. He has no qualms about what they do, and because of what he has been through he is also extremely suspicious. He does not want to take this job, but Hadrian convinces him it is worth it as they will get 200 gold tenets.

That's a lot of money

That’s a lot of money

That night they sneak into the castle and into its chapel. They go to search for the sword but find the king, dead.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

As their minds grasp the situation, a dwarf starts screaming out that they killed the king. Guards swarm on them and they end up locked up in the dungeon.

Not good

Not good

Yes, someone murdered the king and framed them. But who? And why?

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Alric Essendon wakes from a tumble with a maid to discover he is the new King. He is furious over the death and prepares a horrible punishment as his revenge.

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Alric is a little lost at what to do, but his Uncle Percy Braga is there to lend a hand and assist him. Meanwhile, Hadrian and Royce await their fate in the dungeon; Hadrian wishing he hadn’t tried to take the job and Royce wishing he had talked Hadrian out of it. To their surprise they receive a royal visit from princess Arista Essendon.

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Arista questions them, so Hardrian tells her the story, claiming they did not kill her father. And to their surprise, she believes them.

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Arista is not like other women. Her father sent her to University and she studied the lost art of magic. She had been given a warning about the threat upon her father’s life but unfortunately didn’t heed it. Now she wants to hire the two to kidnap her brother.

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Hadrian and Royce are surprised, but Arista explains that she thinks someone is after the Essendon line and wants to kill her brother as well. She wants them to smuggle him out of the castle and go to Gutaria Prison, the secret ecclesiastical jail. They they will meet the wizard, Esrahaddon, who will be able to guide her brother. They think it is odd, but faced with death, they take the job.

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Arista has a complete plan in place. She will send two monks in to administer the last rites and have the two unchained to pray. They will knock the monks out, switch clothes and meet her in the kitchen where she will have Alric.

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Everything goes off without a hitch as they head off to the prison to find Esrahaddon, the wizard. As they continue their quest they run into a monk with a photographic memory that survived a massacre; a hidden prison that not only is built into a rock wall but once you enter cannot leave; the great wizard Esrahaddon who has been alive for eons; and secret church and government plot to answer the legend of the god Novron’s son and unite all the kingdoms under one rule!

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Meanwhile, Arista tries to rule in her brother’s place but finds treachery very close to home. They try to brand her a witch and kill her.

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Will this ragtag group be able save the throne? Or will they be outwitted and destroyed by these agents of Novron.

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The book was so fantastic, that I won’t reveal the ending. You must read this book and rest in the series yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

May

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to So You’re the Little Woman Who Wrote the Book that Made this Great War: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

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For more on The Riyria Revelations, go to Portrait of a Fangirl

For more magic and wizards, go to The Unknown Princess Nevermore

For more on Jane Smiley, go to Is This Really Just the Same?: Daring Chloe

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Speaking of magic, there is just a magic of Christmas that cannot be beat. It is just an amazing time of the year. That thought leads us to today’s Christmas Carol, Christmas Needs Love to be Christmas. It was written and recorded in 1993 for Andy Williams’ Christmas Album. It was released in 1994 and marked his first appearance on Billboard 200 album chart in 20 years. That’s magical.

I like this song because it reminds you what the heart of Christmas is, love.

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For more Andy Williams, go to When I Get Into a Novel

For more Christmas Carols, go to The Great Depths of the Ocean are Entirely Unknown to Us: Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Cold-Hearted

So my friend Jane loves the last proposal scene between Darcy and Elizabeth at the end of Pride & Prejudice (2005). As for me, I see it a little different.

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I mean for real Elizabeth.

How rude

Help a guy out:

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I guess some people are just like that.

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For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to The Accidental Bride: A Romantic Comedy

For more on Mr. Darcy, go to An Assembly Such as This

I Saw Goody Osburn With the Devil: The Crucible (1996)

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I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!

The play The Crucible by Arthur Miller is one amazing work, and the film version really did it justice. This play is about the Salem Witch Trials, but is in actuality written to speak out against the Anti-Communist feelings, McCarthyism, the HUAC, blacklisting actors, etc. Miller used real historical figures as the basis for the characters in his play.

The Crucible takes place in Salem, MA in 1692. The film starts off with a bunch of teenage girls partying in the woods with the minister’s (Reverend Samuel Parris) Barbadian slave Tituba. One of the girls is the minister’s daughter Betty and his niece Abigail. Abigail takes the chicken used in the ritual and kills it, afterwards drinking its blood, and wishes for John Proctor‘s wife to die so that she can have him.

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Just as Abigail finishes, the minister surprises the girls in the woods and they all run off.

That day Betty won’t wake up, no matter what Abigail does. The other girls are worried and Abigail makes them promise that they will not tell anyone anything, except that they were just dancing in the woods. She knows that they will all get into DEEP, DEEP trouble if anyone finds out what they were doing. Rev. Parris questions Abigail intensely and she continues with the dancing story. Parris asks if her name is unblemished in the community, as he is worried that if their are any marks against her, people will not  believe them. There was an issue with her being thrown out of Elizabeth Proctor‘s house, (more on this later), but Abigail insists that the reason she was sent away was because she wasn’t subversive enough.

The Putnams, a powerful family, come over and say that their daughter Ruth won’t wake up either. Goody Putnam has lost all her babies, Ruth having been the only exception, and believes that it must be witchcraft that killed them. They also say they have heard that the girls are bewitched. Rev. Parris is worried at what to do and sends for Rev. Hale, a known witch hunter, to figure out this mess.

John Proctor arrives on the scene, played by the very attractive, the very talented, and one of the best things in this film, actor Daniel Day–Lewis (DDL).

Look at that hunk of a man! :)

Look at that hunk of a man! 🙂

Proctor is a manly man, :D, but has a major tiff with Rev. Parris. (There tensions go way back) He doesn’t think that anything is wrong with girls, but suspects that they are just playing around. As he leaves he is approached by Abigail who was waiting for him outside. Abigail was working in his house and the two had an affair! Gasp! (Although he is so attractive I can’t blame the girl for crushing on him, but she should have respected the fact that he is MARRIED!) HIs wife, Elizabeth,  figured that something was up between them and threw her out of her house.

Anyways, Abigail wants them to get back together, but John says no. He is ashamed of what he did and is only about his wife now. However, Abigail is not so ready to let go.

You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!

You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!

OBSESSED!  This girl has psycho-stalker all over it.

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Rev. Hale comes to town and under his intense questioning, Abigail decides she is going to have to give him more than “they were dancing in the woods.” She tells him that Tituba bewitched her and the girls, and forced them to do witchcraft. Tituba, freaks out and after she is beaten she confesses that the Devil came to her. She also says that Sarah Good, Goody Osburn, and Bridget Bishop with the devil. Soon all the girls are chanting and adding to the list of who the witches are. Rev. Hale calls for chains so that they can throw the women into prison. This is a pretty, crazy, intense scene.

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John Proctor is at his farm and can hardly believe how crazy the witchcraze has gotten. (Miller really makes his point on how quickly a witch hunt can happen and how innocents will get hurt.) He told Elizabeth that Abigail told him it was all joke, but can’t tell everyone else because she said it to him in private. Elizabeth loses all faith in her husband, fearing that the two tried to rekindle their affair.

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Mary Warren, their hired girl, comes in and says that they have now 39 people standing trial for witchcraft. She gives Elizabeth a poppet she made at court.  John doesn’t want Mary going to the trails anymore and threatens to beat her, but Mary says he should watch out she as she is a valuable asset and just saved Elizabeth from being named a witch.

After Mary goes to bed the two worriedly confer about what this means for Elizabeth. Soon Hale shows up to question their Christian character. He says that Elizabeth has only been mentioned in passing, that he is really there to check on John. He quizzes him on the ten commandments, with Proctor only missing one, “thou shall not commit adultery”.

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Proctor reveals that Abigail told him that the witchcraft was all joke. Hale is confused as many have confessed, although if they hadn’t they would have hanged. As Hale ponders this,  Francis Nurse and Giles Corey burst in reavealing that their wives, Rebecca and Martha (both good Christian women) were taken. Hale is in shock, as is the Proctors when policeman come to take Elizabeth away. They check Elizabeth’s poppet, given to her by Mary, and find a needle in it. This is proof of witchcraft, as apparently Abigail has been saying that Elizabeth has been tormenting her with her witchy spirit. She was just taken under affliction and a needle found stabbed in her stomach, exactly where it was in the poppet.

After Elizabeth is taken, John loses his temper and convinces Mary to reveal the truth, that everything was a game.

Corey, Nurse, John, & Mary all burst in the court and try and show that it has all been a lie. Putnam had his daughter name people to get land and Abigail was after John. It turns out that Elizabeth won’t hang as she is pregnant, but John won’t let up.  Mary turns on him and calls him a devil, the girls all start screaming it too.

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John yells out that Abigail is a whore.

John Proctor: It is a whore’s vengeance

Now the game has changed as John reveals all. He tells them how he and Abigail were together and his wife threw her out and Abigail is out revenge. This is a serious charge as no one would announce themself a lecher. The Judge asks whether or not Elizabeth is a truthful person and will reveal that is the reason why she kicked Abigail out. After John and the others convince the Judge of Elizabeth’s character, he decides to bring her in to settle the whole thing. He first has Abigail and John face him, they are not allowed to turn around. He then has Elizabeth come in, and questions whether or not her husband has committed adultery. Elizabeth faces the judge but can’t say that her husband sinned, she loves him too much and doesn’t want to hurt him. John is then called a witch and sentenced to be hanged.

Abigail realizes that even though they sentenced John to keep the court from being a mockery, no one trusts her and all believe her to be a whore. She steals away in the dead of night with all of Rev. Parris’ money.

It is hanging time and the Judges, Hale, & Parris are all hoping to get a confession out of Proctor. Proctor doesn’t want to, but after they bring Elizabeth to him, he wants to be there for the baby. He goes to sign his confession, but won’t say he saw anyone else with the devil. Proctor may be willing to give in and denounce himself, but won’t take anyone down with him, he’s too honest for that. He signs the confession, but takes the paper back. (This scene is really powerful as DDL gives an amazing performance.) The leaders want to nail the confession to the door, but he won’t let them, as he can’t have his sons living in shame. Ultimately he takes back his confession and decides to die an honest man.

How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!

How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!

Rebecca, Mariah, & John are all hanged as they say the Lord’s Prayer. This is to prove they are not witches, as it was believed that nobody in league with the Devil could recite the prayer.

CrucibleHanging

It is a really powerful film and a must see for anyone. Not only is it historical fiction and a suspense/horror film (Suspror), but the issues expressed in it are not something that can be pinpointed to one time, but constantly crop up through the ages. When something strange is going on, or when one is afraid; often they latch out and try to hunt out “the cause” picking one to be the scapegoat and hold the blame.

Here is a cover page/poster I made for my countdown to Halloween. Enjoy 😀

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