I've been reading Stein on Writing for the last two years. It's an excellent book and I picked it up yesterday to read a chapter. The chapter I'd read last caught my attention though, and I reread it.
Says Stein "A Crucible is an environment, emotional or physical, that bonds two people. It can be a scene or a series of scenes, but more often the crucible is an entire book. The crucible is a relationship, often one influenced by locale."
He cites some examples, including Lolita, because the hero is in love with a young woman, really, a child. The Count of Monte Cristo is a story that immediately came to my mind. First, the hero is in a prison in the sea from which no one ever returns. Then he escapes and his crucible becomes his desire for revenge, which keeps him from the only woman he has ever loved.
Have you ever heard this term before? Is there a crucible in your manuscript? Can you think of any books or movies with a definite and strong crucible?
*I'M ADDING THIS LINK MY FRIEND FOUND. UNBEKNOWNST TO ME, CAMY TANG WROTE AN ARTICLE ON THE CRUCIBLE. IT'S VERY HELPFUL.*