For an English assignment, my class had to make a secret diary (which are apparently blasphemous?) that one of the main characters of the Crucible would have written. I chose John Proctor. We were supposed to have four types of entries: Narrative, Persuasive, Descriptive and Reflective. Personally I didn't really see the difference between descriptive and narrative, but I guessed you just had to add a lot more adjectives and metaphors and the like. Anyway, despite the fact that I had procrastinated on this, I thought it was pretty fun - we had to find ways to bind it and make it look like an aged journal.
My teacher liked it enough to keep it, so I'm hoping that's good enough for y'all too. :)
(Written on the cover - I added it for atmospheric effect or something)
April 7, 1952
Precious memories come to me when I see the Lord's light shine a certain way on your face. It is during these moments when I see the face of the boy who was so often reprimanded by his father or by the old reverend for his impertinent mouth and restless hands. To that boy, whose true thoughts and feelings were constantly met with hostility and derision, I present a means through which he may express himself freely. When you find your words reach no one, even to me, who will remain by your side regardless, store them here until the day that they can.
May 09, 1962
I open this book for the first time in years, and now with a pen in hand. They have taken her away, and the prospect of never seeing her again has reminded me of this gift which she gave me on our wedding day. As children, we were taught to relieve ourselves of our sins to the Lord, not to selfishly hide them amidst paper and ink. God forgive my sacrilege. She is not at my side and these words may be the only thing that saves me from the guilt. How she had known that I would find relief in this journal I do not know, but I love her all the more for it.
I shall calm myself by forcing myself to recall the night from the beginning. Elizabeth and I had been upset with each other. She wanted me to go to Salem and testify against Abigail. I was defensive and unsure. I did not want to involve myself in this ridiculousness and make a spectacle of myself, and I did not want to involve myself with Abigail any longer.
Then Mary came home from Salem, where she had been forbidden to go, and informed us of the outbreak of witchcraft among the people. It was a laughable idea, I thought. But Mary informed us that now women would be soon hanged, and that my own wife had almost been accused herself!
Then Hale came to our home, and began to interrogate my wife and me about our credibility as followers of the Lord. I am ashamed to have lost my composure so easily in the face of his suspicions. I had not realized how difficult it was to recall the Ten Commandments instantly (and I can only imagine how it was for Goody Osborne in a courtroom of accusing faces). I had also not realized that my distaste for that avaricious Parris could so easily be a mark against my innocence of witchcraft of all things! With the threat of my family's arrest, I was prompted to tell him of my conversation with Abigail, which contradicted her recent claims of witchcraft the people in my village. At the end of the night, however, I wonder if I had been heard at all.
Before I knew it, Francis Nurse entered my house, distraught over dear Rebecca's arrest. That such a wise and motherly woman had been accused astounded me. And just when I realized that now even the most innocent person could be accused and arrested, Marshal Herrick came to my house. Abigail, that wretched, jealous girl, had marked Elizabeth for witchcraft, and now, they claim, she brought evidence. It was a needle they found in her stomach. This in itself should have meant nothing, were it not for the doll Mary brought home for Elizabeth, which too had a needle in its stomach.
I could hardly bear it when my wife bid her children and myself goodbye. The idea that she might not return brought shivers down my spine. But a heated rage came over me when I saw that she was to be handcuffed. This sign of guilt, as if she, sweet Elizabeth, were the criminal, and not me, the disloyal, cowardly husband, is more than I can stand.
I can no longer be hesitant. Abigail has gone too far with her jealousy, and I realize now that reason and logic has somehow been covered up. I must bring it back to the light and keep innocent lives, Elizabeth's life, from being lost.
May 10, 1692
To Mr. Danforth:
I write this letter in response to the charge against my wife, Elizabeth Proctor, of witchcraft by Abigail Williams. Given that my relationship with my wife as housemate and intimate acquaintance of ten long years is being undone by a few baseless allegations made by some children who could not tell the difference between hard work and fanciful play, I believe my outrage is justified. I believe I voice similar thoughts to those of husbands whose wives have been taken from them, and children whose mothers have been taken away from them.
I testify that Abigail Williams had spoken to me, not long before this panic broke out, and told me that there had been no witchcraft involved in her dancing with Parris' slave, Tituba. Ask yourself why she would contradict herself now especially upon seeing our reception of witchcraft, which is conviction and threat of execution. Would it not be her natural instinct to save herself from punishment? I urge you now to be suspicious of those you call witnesses, and realize that their testimonies against the accused can hold no more than the testimonies that defend them. But I feel I must impress upon you that there is some protest against this movement against the supposed rise of witchcraft, which is why I have compiled a list of names of people who pledge that the accused women are respectable and not in any way acquainted with the devil.
I must admit, I had been quite naïve when I believed that the people of this village were a logical and unimpressionable people, raised as we were to be wary of all things wicked and sinful. But it may be that our blockade on all of these things has left us untrained and most vulnerable to the evil that has slipped past our defenses. Yet, I do not refer to witchcraft.
Mr. Danforth, consider that there are two ways to rid a people of evil. One can only be done by God, because only He can see all the evil in the world. The second is easily obtainable by man, and he may not even know he does it: That is to destroy the people utterly and completely.
May 11, 1692
I awoke this morning not in my own bed, but on the floor of a barren jail cell in Salem. Yesterday Hale, Corey, Nurse and I had gone to court to petition for bail for the accused women. So many times I saw success in my grasp, and just as many times it eluded me.
Mary had tried to do as I told her, and speak in court what she knew about Abigail. Her statement was constantly attacked by Danforth and Parris, the stubborn, prideful rat. Like a child trying to elude reprimanding, he fabricated holes in every attempt we made to reason with Judge Danforth. Were Parris an animal, I would have muzzled him and ceased his incessant howling.
Then Abigail began to shiver and shriek, turning the blame of witchcraft on Mary. To see that Abigail and her friends' trickery was actually persuading the judge enraged me so much that I confessed to my act of adultery with her, in hopes of ruining her credibility. I was blind in my fury, grabbing the girl by the hair, wondering what I had seen in her. What good my confession could have brought never came, for they brought in Elizabeth to verify the act, and the dear, sweet woman, she lied to preserve me. They forced Abigail and me to turn away from her, depriving her of any notion of what to say or how to act. My mind scrambled for a way to get her to tell the truth, but at her first moment of hesitance, I realized with dread how completely loyal she was to me. If guilt had been heavy on me before, it brings me to my knees now. How could I have forgotten such a trusting, loving wife?
I could see Abigail's relief easily, and wondered why no one else could. I saw her relief slip into smug triumph, and I saw her face harden as she once more slipped into her act. Effortlessly, she led the other girls into following her. They began to repeat Mary's words as if they were spell-bound, giving the impression that her actions were influencing them. It was deeply unsettling to see the way they mimicked each other unquestioningly, thoughtlessly.
My mind could hardly comprehend what happened next, when Mary's resolve finally collapsed under the girls' scheming. She began to confess a lie, and pointed towards me as a follower of the devil.
I could not be insulted, and somehow, not really, I could not be surprised. It was ridiculous, insane, but it was very, incredibly real. I'm not sure if I had not realized it before then, until all eyes rested upon me, believing her though moments ago they distrusted her when she spoke the truth.
And though I was not shocked, not offended, and certainly not amused, I found an uncontrollable bubble of laughter rising up in my chest. A fog of madness, which has now receded to the corners of my eyes, had crept over me. I remember being brought to this cell, but I was not aware of it as it happened. I could think only of their eager voices, practically begging for the devil's hand to corrupt them. I heard Elizabeth's voice, trembling and soft, but I could not see her face.
September 10, 1692
I am four months in this cell. Herrick has given me the date, and the sunlight that enters though the windows too high on the wall tells me the hour.
I do not know how my wife fares. She must be weakened; no woman should be pregnant and be forced to live under these conditions. When I was told of her pregnancy, I did not have the opportunity to be joyful. Instead, the information was followed up with a condition: If I gave up my charges against Abigail, my wife would be guaranteed a year of life. That was the control the court had taken over the accused women. They were promised life for a lie, and death for a truth.
I had forgotten to give Danforth the letter I prepared for him. It sits here, among these pages. Though it is unread, I know, from my experience yesterday in that courtroom, it would have been as useful as the signed petition, the honest testimonies, and voices of reason that we did bring.
Somehow, this is what justice has become. It's not righting what is wrong, it's destroying as much wrong as possible, and if there is no wrong, it shall be created.
What would I do? I steadfastly shut my mouth against this court, but if it were not my wife in danger, wouldn't I confess immediately, and selfishly allow this charade to continue? I could have easily given up, if I saw, like Goody Osburn and Parris' slave, that no one would support me. It was not a matter of whether anyone simply believed them. It was the fact that no one fought for the truth that made them confess to witchcraft. For this, I regret my inaction, and when I finally did speak out, it was too late.
I write this now because I believe my death is imminent. I have spent four months in this solitude, and I am still not sure whether I believe it is worth it. The idea of giving into these gullible people aggravates me, but they hold my life in their hands. I do not want to die, and I want to be an honest man. Those two wishes should never have had to contradict each other.
If only Elizabeth were here now. If I could hear her tell me to walk to my death, I think I could do it. At one time I thought we were so far apart, and I had forgotten how well she knew me. I finally remember what a good women Elizabeth is. I want nothing but for her to forgive my lechery, and I want to act for her.
But for the sake of innocent lives, and honesty, how should I act? I am unsure where my justice lies.
KK: I tried to keep it as accurate as possible in terms of the play's timeline, but I don't think the author gave exact dates.
I think my least favorite was the Danforth letter. My teacher had made us turn that one in early to make sure we were working on it and I squeezed that bit out half an hour before it was due. :P Anyway, I hope you liked it. If you were my English teacher what would you say? :D