Abigail William’s Revenge

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History has always been my favorite subject in school.  No matter what we did in class, whether a test, essay or presentation, I enjoyed it.  That being said, the time when the pilgrims and settlers came to America and the early days of my country is one of my lesser favorites.  Why?  Because I’ve read about it so many times.  But there was something about the witch trials that has left an unspoken mark of horror on me.  My morbid fascination with it has left me restless for many a night.  It took awhile to convince myself, but, after five years, I finally read Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

First produced in 1953, The Crucible explores what happens when a vengeful teenager accuses a rival of witchcraft in a 1692 Salem, Massachusetts.  As mass hysteria grips the community, these accusations multiply and consume the entire village.

Suspenseful and emotional, this gripping play of how quickly a pious community can become collectively evil, The Crucible is dark, terrifying, and an influential look at what we, the human race, could become again.  I rate this four out of five burning stars.

A Separate Peace

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About a month ago, I bumped into my cousin at the library.  We got to talking and I confessed that I needed something good to read but I seemed to be picking similar books.  After spending a good twenty minutes rifling through bookshelf after bookshelf, we finally decided on A Separate Peace by John Knowles.

Even though they are the best of friends, Gene and Phineas are vastly different.  Gene is introverted and an intellectual, and Phineas is an exuberant athlete.  Nestled in a New England boarding school, they spend the summer playing games, having adventures, and breaking the rules, all the while World War II looms far off.  But when one of them gets in a terrible accident and several of their friends enlist, the war becomes much more real and hits too close to home.

John Knowles tells a story of innocence lost and the friendship of two boys and how it’s tested.  The characters were wonderful and frustratingly human. and the line between truth and lies becomes increasingly blurred.  All in all, A Separate Peace was a quick, painful read, and I rate it four out of five stars.