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The Crucible

Essay by   •  July 18, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,921 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,613 Views

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Different people interpret things differently. Many things can influence such an interpretation. To understand this concept two different reviews of the film "The Crucible" will be examined. These two reviews will demonstrate that texts, in this case, "The Crucible", can be read differently. Both reviews have distinctive elements of style and focus on different aspects of the text. While both reviews have pragmatic values, commending the actors on their performances, the two reviews focus on separate aspects of the film. The first review, written by Bill Crucie concentrates on the social context of the film, and its entertainment value. It is written informally with extensive colloquial language and Crucie uses exaggeration that boarders on hyperbole. Crucie's review disagrees with the second review on the matter of characterization, and how they are represented. Crucie's report of the characters is different due to the different angle he takes. The second review, by Greg King, analyses the film, not from an entertainment angle, like Crucie, but from a context view. King writes a formal piece, from a far more objective angle. The review focuses on the political context of the film. Both reviews differ, and it is this difference that illustrates the ability to contain different meanings, and evoke different readings.

The two reviews focus on different aspects, foregrounding what they each think is important. The foregrounding of different ideas illustrates the different interpretations. Both share the notion that the film contains universal themes; however this is the only common thought. The two reviews focus on different aspects, for the reason that they are each aimed at dissimilar audiences. Crucie focuses on the social context of the film, its entertainment value and what he believes to be the main ideas of the film. The social context is discussed in depth, and combined with the use of personal pronoun, colloquial language, and hyperbole, creates a familiar tone, doused with excitement. "They chant and dance, wishing for men that they love" this line shows the social element of the review. Crucie is able to recreate the film, discussing the social elements. Combined with the tone, the responder is almost able to hear the tone of Crucie's voice, and see his face animated as he discusses Abigail's affair. Crucie discusses the entertainment value held by the film. Crucie plays up the love story, elaborating extensively, and creates an unrealistic expectation from the responder, by claiming the film has undercurrents of all genres. "...is able to combine romance, suspense, comedy, and much more..." This kind of exaggeration continues throughout the review, adding to the already created tone of excitement. Similar to the exaggeration, this kind of generalization is able to appeal to people of all kinds of, creating the impression that this film falls into all categories, and will be enjoyed by all. The themes of the film are also identified by Crucie. He is able to link the idea of power with the sexual endeavors of the characters. King's review however focuses on entirely different points. King focuses far more on the historical and political context of the play. This is introduced immediately with comparisons being made between the McCarthy era, and the witch trials. "As an indictment of the frenzied mass hysteria of the McCarthy era and the parallels with the poisonous politics and relentless persecution - are unmistakable." This instantly provides the review with a more serious tone, enabling it to take a formal, sophisticated approach. Similar to Crucie, King identifies some of the themes present within the film. "Paranoia, betrayal, persecution, bigotry" King also is able to recognize the unlikely hero in the character of John Proctor. King elaborates on this opinion discussing indirectly the elements of the unlikely hero. Both articles concur that the film contains universal themes, relevant in any context. "Themes are very much present in today's society" and "powerful themes are still relevant forty years later." Quotes from the respective reviews illustrate this. The two reviews focus on different aspects of the film, with Crucie's review concentrating on the entertainment values, while King focuses on the historical and political aspects of the film.

While the reviews focus on different aspects they also use different techniques to achieve this. Crucie employs a familiar, excited tone, while King uses a more sophisticated style of writing. "I remember many classics in high school" this is the opening line of Crucie's review. Immediately he creates a familiar tone by using the personal pronoun, to create trust, and an anecdote. To compare this with King's opening line, "paranoia, betrayal" all important ingredients of this powerful film adaptation" it is clear that the initial tone created is different. King creates a formal tone. Crucie initiates an excited tone by using exaggeration bordering on hyperbole. The language that Crucie employs is very informal and extensive colloquial language is utilized. This combines with the exaggeration to create a relaxed piece of writing. King's word choice varies greatly to that of Crucie's. King uses a wider variety of language, with a much better vocabulary. This creates a formal sophisticated piece of writing. King uses constant superlatives to create a favorable review of the actors, "magnificent job", "superb job". King also chooses strong emotive words to express a subtle opinion. This is shown in the description of Abigail, "spiteful, vengeful", and achieves the composer's objective of positioning the responder. To add to the formal tone, King utilizes the effect of using historical information, which provides a structured review and an acceptable level of formality. King, in addition provides a slight tonal change, where he slowly begins to include his opinion, this is seen with the addition of emotive words. This allows him to position the reader favorably. King also provides commentary on the story, and the characters, again assisting his positioning of the composer. He comments on the stylistic elements, and this reflect the style of the piece, "deftly shifts the emphasis away from its stage origins, focusing the attention on the intense confrontations and the rich characters". This technique is also made use of by Crucie. He provides a running commentary on the development of the love story, and the characters, "as the love story evolves" paranoid village". Again this mirrors the style of the writing. Along with this commentary, contrasting King's technique is a very strong opinion, designed to openly position the responder. Another technique Crucie employs

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