The Crucible

by Arthur Miller

Parris - (it is very hard to say): Aye, a dress. And I thought - someone naked running through the trees!
Abigal (in terror): No one was naked! You mistake yourself, uncle!
Parris (with anger): I saw it! (Her moves from her, Then, resolved.) Now tell me true, Abigail. And I pray you feel the weight of truth upon you, for now my ministry's at atake, my ministry and perhaps your cousin'd life. Whatever abomination you have done, give me all of it now, for I dare not be taken unaware when I go before them down there.
Abigail There is nothin' more. I swear it, uncle.
Parris (studies her, then nods, half convinced): Abigail, I have fought here three long years to bend there stiff-necked people to me, and now, just now when some good respect is rising for me in the parish, you compromise my very character. I have given you a home, child, I have put clothes upon your back - now give me upright answer. Your name in the town - it is entirely white, is it not?
Abigail (with an edge of resentment): Why, I am sure it is, sir. There be no blush about my name.
Parris (to the point): Abigail, is there any other cause that you have told me, for you being discharged from Goody Proctor's service? I have heard it said, and I tell you as I heard it, that she comes so rarely to church this year for she will not sit so close to something soiled. What signified that remark?
Abigail She hates me, uncle, she must, for I would not be her slave. It's a bitter woman, a lying, cold, snivelling, woman, and I will not work for such a woman!
Parris She may be. And yet it has troubled me that you are now seven month out of their house, and in all this time no other family has ever called for your service.
Abigail They want slaves, not such as I. Let them send to Barbados for that. I will not black my face for any of them! (With illconcealed resentment at him.) Do you begrudge my bed, uncle?
Parris No -no.
Abigail (in a temper): My name is good in the village! I will not have it said my name is soiled! Goody Proctor is a gossiping liar!


The character Abigail is discovered dancing and chanting in the woods with the villiage girls by her uncle Reverend Parris. He suspects witchcraft and conjuring of spirits of Abigail. She denies all of Parris's accusations and begins to make up fanciful tales to explain her actions. In doing so, she condemns many of her neighbors to death. Abigail denys any blush upon her name in this excerpt of the play. Abigail spins a story about Goody Proctor that is untrue. Abigails stories that she uses to decive the jurisdiction of the villiage are examples of anecdotes.
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Death In The Arctic

by Robert Service

I took the clock down from the shelf; "At eight," said I, "I shoot myself." It lacked a minute of the hour, And as I waited all a-cower, A skinful of black, boding pain, Bits of my life came back again. . . .
"Mother, there's nothing more to eat -- Why don't you go out on the street? Always you sit and cry and cry; Here at my play I wonder why. Mother, when you dress up at night, Red are your cheeks, your eyes are bright; Twining a ribband in your hair, Kissing good-bye you go down-stair. Then I'm as lonely as can be. Oh, how I wish you were with me! Yet when you go out on the street, Mother, there's always lots to eat. . . ."
For days the igloo has been dark; But now the rag wick sends a spark That glitters in the icy air, And wakes frost sapphires everywhere; Bright, bitter flames, that adder-like Dart here and there, yet fear to strike The gruesome gloom wherein they lie, My comrades, oh, so keen to die! And I, the last -- well, here I wait The clock to strike the hour of eight. . . .
"Boy, it is bitter to be hurled Nameless and naked on the world; Frozen by night and starved by day, Curses and kicks and clouts your pay. But you must fight! Boy, look on me! Anarch of all earth-misery; Beggar and tramp and shameless sot; Emblem of ill, in rags that rot. Would you be foul and base as I? Oh, it is better far to die! Swear to me now you'll fight and fight, Boy, or I'll kill you here to-night. . . ."
Curse this silence soft and black! Sting, little light, the shadows back! Dance, little flame, with freakish glee! Twinkle with brilliant mockery! Glitter on ice-robed roof and floor! Jewel the bear-skin of the door! Gleam in my beard, illume my breath, Blanch the clock face that times my death! But do not pierce that murk so deep, Where in their sleeping-bags they sleep! But do not linger where they lie, They who had all the luck to die! . . .
"There is nothing more to say; Let us part and go our way. Since it seems we can't agree, I will go across the sea. Proud of heart and strong am I; Not for woman will I sigh; Hold my head up gay and glad: You can find another lad. . . ."
Above the igloo piteous flies Our frayed flag to the frozen skies. Oh, would you know how earth can be A hell -- go north of Eighty-three! Go, scan the snows day after day, And hope for help, and pray and pray; Have seal-hide and sea-lice to eat; Melt water with your body's heat; Sleep all the fell, black winter through Beside the dear, dead men you knew. (The walrus blubber flares and gleams -- O God! how long a minute seems!) . . .
"Mary, many a day has passed, Since that morn of hot-head youth. Come I back at last, at last, Crushed with knowing of the truth; How through bitter, barren years You loved me, and me alone; Waited, wearied, wept your tears -- Oh, could I atone, atone, I would pay a million-fold! Pay you for the love you gave. Mary, look down as of old -- I am kneeling by your grave." . . .
Olaf, the Blonde, was first to go; Bitten his eyes were by the snow; Sightless and sealed his eyes of blue, So that he died before I knew. Here in those poor weak arms he died: "Wolves will not get you, lad," I lied; "For I will watch till Spring come round; Slumber you shall beneath the ground." Oh, how I lied! I scarce can wait: Strike, little clock, the hour of eight! . . .
"Comrade, can you blame me quite? The horror of the long, long night Is on me, and I've borne with pain So long, and hoped for help in vain. So frail am I, and blind and dazed; With scurvy sick, with silence crazed. Beneath the Arctic's heel of hate, Avid for Death I wait, I wait. Oh if I falter, fail to fight, Can you, dear comrade, blame me quite?" . . .
Big Eric gave up months ago. But seldom do men suffer so. His feet sloughed off, his fingers died, His hands shrunk up and mummified. I had to feed him like a child; Yet he was valiant, joked and smiled, Talked of his wife and little one (Thanks be to God that I have none), Passed in the night without a moan, Passed, and I'm here, alone, alone. . . .
"I've got to kill you, Dick. Your life for mine, you know. Better to do it quick, A swift and sudden blow. See! here's my hand to lick; A hug before you go -- God! but it makes me sick: Old dog, I love you so. Forgive, forgive me, Dick -- A swift and sudden blow. . . ."
Often I start up in the dark, Thinking the sound of bells to hear. Often I wake from sleep: "Oh, hark! Help . . . it is coming . . . near and near." Blindly I reel toward the door; There the snow billows bleak and bare; Blindly I seek my den once more, Silence and darkness and despair. Oh, it is all a dreadful dream! Scurvy and cold and death and dearth; I will awake to warmth and gleam, Silvery seas and greening earth. Life is a dream, its wakening, Death, gentle shadow of God's wing. . . .
"Tick, little clock, my life away! Even a second seems a day. Even a minute seems a year, Peopled with ghosts, that press and peer Into my face so charnel white, Lit by the devilish, dancing light. Tick, little clock! mete out my fate: Tortured and tense I wait, I wait. . . ."
Oh, I have sworn! the hour is nigh: When it strikes eight, I die, I die. Raise up the gun -- it stings my brow -- When it strikes eight . . . all ready . . . now --
  • * * * *
Down from my hand the weapon dropped; Wildly I stared. . . . THE CLOCK HAD STOPPED.
Phantoms and fears and ghosts have gone. Peace seems to nestle in my brain. Lo! the clock stopped, I'm living on; Heart-sick I was, and less than sane. Yet do I scorn the thing I planned, Hearing a voice: "O coward, fight!" Then the clock stopped . . . whose was the hand? Maybe 'twas God's -- ah well, all's right. Heap on me darkness, fold on fold! Pain! wrench and rack me! What care I? Leap on me, hunger, thirst and cold! I will await my time to die; Looking to Heaven that shines above; Looking to God, and love . . . and love.
Hark! what is that? Bells, dogs again! Is it a dream? I sob and cry. See! the door opens, fur-clad men Rush to my rescue; frail am I; Feeble and dying, dazed and glad. There is the pistol where it dropped. "Boys, it was hard -- but I'm not mad. . . . Look at the clock -- it stopped, it stopped. Carry me out. The heavens smile. See! there's an arch of gold above. Now, let me rest a little while -- Looking to God and Love . . .and Love . . ."


The speaker is slowely freezing in the arctic. He recollects his life and tells the stories of what his life was. In a way, his life is flashing before his eyes before he dies. His stories are examples of anecdotes. The writer uses the anecdotes to show the reader the past and how the speaker lived before his death.

Of Mice and Men

by John Steinbeck

Lennie sighed deeply. From outside came the clang of a horseshoe on metal, and then a chorus of cheers. “Somebody made a ringer,” said Curley’s wife. Now the light was lifting as the sun went down, and the sun streaks climbed up the wall and fell over the feeding racks and over the heads of the horses. Lennie said, “Maybe if I took this pup out and throwed him away George wouldn’t never know. An’ then I could tend the rabbits without no trouble.” Curley’s wife said angrily, “Don’t you think of nothing but rabbits?” “We gonna have a little place,” Lennie explained patiently. “We gonna have a house an’ a garden and a place for alfalfa, an’ that alfalfa is for the rabbits, an’ I take a sack and get it all fulla alfalfa and then I take it to the rabbits.' She asked, “What makes you so nuts about rabbits?” Lennie had to think carefully before he could come to a conclusion. He moved cautiously close to her, until he was right against her. “I like to pet nice things. Once at a fair I seen some of them long-hair rabbits. An’ they was nice, you bet. Sometimes I’ve even pet mice, but not when I couldn’t get nothing better.”

Analysis: When Lennie continuously brings up thoughts about the farm where he will have his rabbits to tend to, is an example of an anecdote in literature. He tells stories of the future farm and prosperity to keep his hopes up that everything will turn out ok. The author uses the stories of the farm to show how much Lennie wants his life to turn out right and how much he wants George to be with him, happy, on the farm.

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