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It all began with a group of girls who were exhibiting strange behavior. When doctors were unable to explain their behavior, the people of Salem began to panic and quickly assumed their behavior to be indicative of the devil’s presence. This small town’s hysteria resulted in the deaths of dozens of individuals. Sadly, many formal accounts of history have not even kept thorough record of all those who died, having been sentenced by the courts of the times to mostly, cruel and unusual forms of execution.
This is but one recount of important, historical events which can teach us today; how not to repeat our mistakes. American literature which I have covered in my recent literature class, proved to be much more exciting and engrossing than I could have ever imagined! I recently read Edgar Allen Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado which is a gothic, fictional classic! Incidentally, the short work by Poe is not lengthy at all, it was actually a quick read and therefore got strait to the point. Poe’s works are classic examples of an authro who depicts a strong sense of duality throughout his works. There is always the normal or the protagonist if you will, in Poe’s work; foiled against the dark side represented usually by either the same character or a very similar character. Poe is genious at illustrating the good and evil lingering in everyone.
Similarly, I found the reading of Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving to be nothing short of brilliant! The fairytale styling of the work is entirely fictional but at the end, one can derive the ‘take home message’ that our past does come back to haunt us. This is exactly why Early American history was so educational for me, as I realized that even today, the facts of the past help to inform us as to what can occur when costly mistakes and misjudgments are made.
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