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    Only A Name

    By: Mrs. Holland

    My juniors recently finished reading Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, and I was faced once again with question of “What power lies in a name?” Ultimately John Proctor could not lie to save his life because he could not give away his good name.

    Once a lady asked me if I was Lila Adams’ granddaughter. I immediately knew the connection would be in my favor because my grandma is well-loved in our community. She is the equivalent of Maycomb’s Maudie Atkinson and Salem’s Rebecca Nurse. I was proud of the name Adams because of the people – my people – who owned it before I did. My grandma. My dad. My uncles and cousins. The people who made me puff with pride when asked if I was an Adams.

    When asked why he won’t sign his name to the confession, Proctor cries, “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” (133).

    John Proctor chooses to die and give his children the gift of a good name and a heritage to be proud of.

    Some students read Proctor’s words and say “It’s only a name. Wouldn’t his kids have been better off with a father than without one?” and “The truth would have come out in the end anyway. A name is not that important.”

    But it actually is. God told Adam to name the animals. We are taught to pray in Jesus’ name. Jesus tells us that what we ask for in his name we will receive.

    Proctor is just a name. But aren’t we still talking about him today? He and Rebecca Nurse and Martha Corey were people of God and wouldn’t give up their names for a lie.

    The conflicted Reverend Hale, on the other hand, encourages Proctor to lie because he’ll only lose a name (122), but John Proctor knows that what ultimately can save him is only a Name.

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