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Myths and heroes: the myth of wutches in America

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Par   •  7 Mai 2017  •  Discours  •  405 Mots (2 Pages)  •  1 010 Vues

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The notion i'm going to deal with is Myths and heroes with the exemple of the myth of witches in America.

First, I think that is important to define the terms of myth and hero. A myth can be defined as a story about gods or heroes, it can be a popular belief or a tradition or a false notion. A hero can be a mythological figure, a person who is admired for his or her achievements, a superhero or maybe a role model or an icon.

I - Witches and witch hunting in 17th century

Little groupe puritanism : They believed in witches

For them, god choose each human being at birth for salvation or condemnation.

Marriage and adultery were important in maintaining order in their society.

Adultery was punished publicaly (death), because it inflict shame and humiliation.

Forest = home of the devil and a place witches met at night

Snakes means presence of the devil

In Salem, in 1692, some people started having conlsions, expericenced physical pain, complained of fever, claimed to have horrible visions and uttered blasphemous screams. As no one knows from where this symptoms were coming. They were believed to bo under devil's influence.

II - Witches and witch hunting in 20th century in America

There was another witch hunt in the USA called red scare or McCarthysm.

The US was afraid of communist foreigners who according to them night infiltrate the country.

A lot of people were accused of hacing links with communist, even some of them were on blacklist.

McCarty, a replublican senator, was appanted to hunt potential comunnist.

In the extract of "An Unamerican lady", the narrator was accused of being communist because she came from the URSS to see her mother who was operated.

In 17th : Witches were devils ; In 20th : witches were communist because of the cold war.

There is an evolution of the term witch.

III - Scapegoating

Sacco and Vanzetti : 2 italians immigrants who were convicted of murdering a guard and a paymaster on April 15th 1920, in an armed robbery of the slater and Morrill Shoe compagny in Massachusetts.

They were executed in the electric chair.

That's an exemple of the USA when scapegoats were hunt down.


The myths scared the American society.

The Salem witch-hunts resulted from a myth of superstition with its origins in religions conception of a social ideals.

As for the red scare, which everytime crystallised into an anti-communist myth.

In both of cases, action taken against the accused worked to strengthen the power of these myths.


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