The Reign of Fear

I read The Crucible on a 30 person bus, swerving its way along a two-lane road to Mombasa, Kenya.

But first, to give you some extra insight:

  1. Approximately 85% of Kenya’s exports go through Mombasa. Almost 90% of Kenya’s important imports go through Mombasa.
    1. By the way, if you are honestly interested in this, here’s a good article: The Port of Mombasa
  2. Mombasa Road – A109 road – is the major road link from Mombasa to Nairobi; it is the route for all cargo trucks.
  3. The entire distance is 482.9 km.
    1. Google tells me that the trip should take 8 hours.
    2. Has Google taken a bus there?
    3. It took us 13 hours.
  4. It is a two lane road. The whole way.

Now, if you can, imagine the cargo trucks carrying almost 90 percent of East Africa’s imports, driving this two lane highway, for almost 500 km. Needless to say, it is regarded as one of the most dangerous roads.

Now that you have a good idea of the environment for my reading, I can begin.

The Crucible is a dramatized, slightly fictionalized telling of the Salem witch trials written by the American playwright Arthur Miller in response to the Red Scare/McCarthyism in the 1950’s. It is soaked in dramatic irony and verging on ironic and frightening enough to make one laugh. But not quite. Instead, I found myself wanting to throw the tattered book out the window, into the windshields of the fast approaching trucks.

I was appalled, frightened, and angry because I was about to die on my way to the Indian Ocean because of super slow cargo trucks trying to pass my bus on a two lane highway, no, no, I knew I was regarding the actions of the townspeople of Salem as ludicrous, obviously wrong, while I continued making decisions ruled by fear, everyday. So I continued to read. I forced myself to get through it, struggling through painful scenes of oversight, ignorance to truth, vengeance at its finest.

So, this is what I have to say: the frustration I felt when reading The Crucible was healthy frustration, frustration that made me realize the extent to which I am enslaved by fear and the lengths to which I must go to free myself from those bonds, and learn to love.

We must learn

Not to live in fear

In living in fear

We are sentencing


To life of

Hatred for the unloved

Hatred for the unknown

Hatred will only lead to more fear.

We must learn

To love even though

Love hurts

But ultimately

Love is the answer

Love is the only way out

In the place of fear,

We must love.

In the hole

That we fill with fear,

We must fill it to the brim,

Fill it to the brim

With love

Love to last

Beyond all the borders

Beyond all the walls we build.




4 thoughts on “The Reign of Fear

  1. Reid! I absolutely love this post! Your introduction was so funny and catchy. I also absolutely loved the poetry. Why do you have to be so good at poetry? I seriously think that someday you’ll be the next Emily Dickinson. It was really good to here your thoughts on the book. I definitely agree with how you felt while reading it. There’s really nothing much I can find to change, but if anything, maybe connect your introduction to the book itself more and how that environment may have affected your view of it. Overall though, it was great!


  2. I like the connection you’ve made between your moments of life on Mombasa road (hanging in the balance between life and death 😉 with the “fear vs love” challenge that runs profoundly through our lives.


  3. Hi Reid- I like your writing 🙂

    I really enjoyed how you scattered imagery all over the place, throughout your whole post, and especially in the intro (which I found random and interesting) and and the paragraph where you talk about how The Crucible made you feel; an example I loved was: “It is soaked in dramatic irony and verging on ironic and frightening enough to make one laugh.”
    I can’t really see anything for you to change/improve (or I’m just momentarily blinded) so…

    Marvelous job, Reid!


  4. Reid I’m stunned at how much of an amazing writer you are. You’re blog was funny, intriguing, and all-around the most wonderful thing I’ve read all week. You made talking about The Crucible and the Red Scare somehow enjoyable to read, and in speaking on the subject of fear, something relatable to every human on the face of the earth, you resolved/ addressed the issue through poetry about love- which was clever and really well done. It is really hard to come up with a critique, but I would say that somehow further analyzing how your environment in reading The Crucible effected your conclusion of fear vs. love wouldn’t be a bad thing 🙂 all around well done!


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