With extensive questions for close reading to take your students through a reading of The Crucible by Arthur Miller, this Literature study guide is an effective, no-prep way to teach the play.
The Crucible is a play that has many interesting facets for a teacher. It’s about the Salem witch trials of the 17th century, and does a great job helping students understand the Puritan culture on which our nation was created.
On the other hand, the play was written during the time of the McCarthy trials, and so it speaks the events of the Second Red Scare in the 1940s and 1950s. Of course, “witch hunts” continue to this day, so the play is quite relevant to contemporary society and culture. For a classroom with any teenage girls in it, the play also speaks to the ways that girls who talk out or gain power beyond what society has deemed appropriate for them are often called “sluts” or taken down in other ways. For all these reasons and many more, I have found great success teaching this play to my high school classes.
These questions were designed for average classes. I have taught The Crucible to students who don’t like reading, don’t like literature, and don’t have much experience acting—and by teaching it the way that I outline here, my students and I really enjoyed the experience. If you are teaching to more advanced classes, they will be able to work through the questions faster and more independently, but they will still benefit from the kind of close attention to detail that these questions require.
Table of Contents
Overview and Suggested Process
How to do Interactive Notebooks
A Hangin’ Error: Questions and Answer Key on Part One of Act One
A Divided Empire: Questions and Answer Key on Part Two of Act One
Hysterically and With Great Grief: Questions and Answer Key, Part Three of Act One
Quiz on Act One with Answer Key
Little Crazy Children: Questions and Answer Key on Act Two
Quiz and Answer Key on Act Two
What No One Has Ever Seen: Questions and Answer Key on Part One of Act Three
Them That Quail: Questions and Answer Key on Part Two of Act Three
His Goodness Now: Questions and Answer Key on Act Four
Test with Answer Key
All of the answer keys quote the important passages, so there is no guessing on the part of the teacher as to which parts of the text are most important. When you discuss the questions with your classes, you can point them to the sections to make sure that they are engaging with the text and working to interpret the sometimes challenging language.
In all, there is enough here for seven days of reading, analysis, discussion, and writing on Arthur Miller’s powerful play. There are no lectures or power points here—students will do the work themselves, with guidance from their teacher. Rather than telling them what the play means, you will be empowering them with the confidence and skills to tackle a challenging pieces on their own.