A Georgia public school recently stepped into some controversy thanks to some student artwork associated with a project about Arthur Miller’s important work, The Crucible.
In the assignment about the book, the student created a piece of artwork that quoted the important line by the embattled John Proctor, “PROCTOR, his mind wild, breathless: I say – I say – God is dead!” (emphasis mine)
Having the work hanging prominently displayed in the school has caused a bit of drama among local parents and the school district.
I have very mixed feelings about this, because I agree wholeheartedly with both sides on the issue. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but let me explain.
I think that the High School is exactly the right venue to study and consider the lessons taught in The Crucible. One of those lessons is the struggle between faith and non-belief due to life’s circumstances in the minds of humans. The artwork created by the student is an appropriate vehicle to explain what may be the most important moment of the entire book, and while difficult to stomach for those of us who love our God – it is a common event with which most of humanity struggles. The school is right; the artwork belongs on the wall and the student has the right to expect her good work to be posted with her classmates for others to see.
I think it would have been better for the concerned parents to handle this in a quieter manner because of the perception that this argument immediately evokes. After reading the article about this kerfuffle, I was reminded of a scene in one of my favorite movies. The book ban scene from the Field of Dreams:
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