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Myths and heroes: how has witch hunting evolved through the centuries?

Par   •  2 Octobre 2018  •  1 084 Mots (5 Pages)  •  150 Vues

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society was communist. The McCarthyism was, for example, the witch-hunt of the 50’s in the US. At that time, USSR had a main purpose: to spread communism through Europe. This expansion was considered as a threat and the US feared a communist conspiracy. McCarthy was a senator who claimed to have a list, as a result, thousands of Americans were accused of being communists. People were tried or jailed for refusing to give names of other communists. More than 300 artistes were blacklisted (Arthur Miller, Charlie Chaplin, …)

We saw during our lessons a fresco. This painting represented the senator dressed with an American flag, he appeared on it as a superhero, ready to save America from the communist threat. He focused especially on the Hollywood film industry. He suspected artists because, according to him, they could pervert the mind of the viewers by putting some communist ideas in their movies. They would use the cinema as a way to promote this ideology. We studied also a text where Jane Foster tells us that her passport has been confiscated because she was not American. In the 50’s, American people were suspicious. For the officer, she might be a communist, a “Red” (symbolizes communism). The 50’s were definitely the period of the height of the Cold War hysteria. In fact, the extract of the Pursuit of Happiness by Douglas KENNEDY, highlights the fact that living in the USA in the 50’s wasn’t easy. Sometimes, people were suspected for no motives and communism became a real obsession for the American authorities. According to the “Feds”, they were investigating a conspiracy which poses a threat to national security. In this text, Sarah can’t accept her boyfriend’s arguments because he betrayed her and her brother. He told the FIB his brother-in-law, Eric, was a communist. He didn’t want to lose his job and his life because of his youthful mistake (anti-fascist committee). In “Not you!”, he explains to Sarah he hadn’t any choice. But, the fact is that there is always a choice. The FBI blackmailed him and put pressure on him (if he is or not a good American).

Hence, the witch-hunt persisted through the centuries. In the context of McCarthyism, the famous British actor, Charlie Chaplin was accused, in 1952, of communist sympathies. Most of his movies were denouncing the society and he had a real power on his viewers’ opinion. In 1952, he left the US. April 17th, 1953, Chaplin announced he would never return to America where he lived 40 years. He was banned from there and he left for Switzerland. In 1972, he flew back to the US for the first time in 20 years to receive a special Academy Award. Charlie Chaplin said “I am not a communist and I never have been”.

As a conclusion, there is no doubt to say that witch-hunting evolved through the years and the centuries. It persisted and it marked the Cold War’s decades. Nowadays, there are some derivative forms of witch-hunt such as the racism. As far as I am concerned, witch-hunts are a way to reject someone who has not the same identity, the same culture, …


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