Analysis Of Are You Now Or Were You Ever By Arthur Miller

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In author Arthur Miller’s article, “Are You Now or Were You Ever?”, the traumatic anti-communist trials of the 1950’s that took place in American society are thoroughly described. Miller’s purpose is to provide a clear picture of events and behaviors that emerged during this turbulent time period. He adopts a contemplative and didactic tone in order to make his audience reflect on the effects of their actions in order to not permit history to repeat itself. Miller presents his argument that paranoia leads to purposeless consequences that result in ruinous behavior, in a variety of distinct ways throughout this article. Miller opens up his article, “Are You Now Or Were You Ever?”, with a hyperbolic statement. The author begins to introduce …show more content…
This strong imagery creates an intense tone, which illustrates this belief of an unrealistic reality, powered by paranoia, where everyone seems to constantly be plotting against one another. Although that was not the case, Miller elaborates on how truly enveloped U.S society was with this ridiculous behavior as their paranoia was utilized as a scapegoat for their underlying fears concerning the spread of communism. Additionally, Miller emphasizes this mentality when he states, “Paranoia breeds paranoia, but below paranoia there lies a bristling, unwelcome truth, so repugnant as to produce fantasies of persecution to conceal its existence” (Miller 21). He continuously repeats the word “paranoia” within this sentence, which identifies paranoia as the root of the hysteria going on in this time period. This repetition further elaborates towards the audience of how paranoia effortlessly covers up what is morally right to do, which is evidently not covering the truth. Miller then juxtaposes the purpose of this paranoia when he questions, “There were witches, if not to most of us then certainly to everyone in Salem; and there were communists, but what was the content of their menace?” (Miller 26). The author clearly reveals to the audience that there is not real justification for this paranoia because …show more content…
Miller claims that the American society has lost sight of all that is meaningful by tearing other people down instead of uniting together in this time of hysteria. This rhetorical question evokes a sense of pathos in the audience by stating how those in the communist crisis of the 1950’s allowed for something insignificant such as the paranoia, get the best of them and easily destroy bonds that should have been able to endure anything. As a result, one is able to reflect on their own actions and think twice before permitting a mentality such as paranoia, stir unnecessary consequences as well as emotions. Then, Miller shifts to The Crucible, through the use of sophisticated diction such as “polemic” and “protean”, which understatedly hint at the grave seriousness of the Salem witch trials in that book, similar to the anti-communist trials in the U.S without being too obvious. These words provide a euphemism for the reader and provide them with a moment to take in the cruel reality of the paranoia of the 1950’s. Lastly, Miller officially ends this article through the usage of scandalous words such as “fatality”, “distrust”, “alarm”, “suspicion”, and “murder” (Miller 52). Miller concludes his article by utilizing words such as “fatality”, “distrust”, “alarm”, “suspicion”,

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