Aims of Teaching: Introduce the two writer to students Familiarize students with ideas of the work and the language the writers used Give them some knowledge of American drama and American Jewish Writing
Key Points to Teach: Miller’s life and artistic achievements Miller’s Death of a Salesman Features of drama Bellow’s life and artistic achievements Bellow’s Looking for Mr Green Features of Jewish Writing
I. Arthur Miller 1. His Life: 1915. born in Manhattan, the son of a comfortably middle class The family moved to Brooklyn during the Great Depression which plunged his family into financial straits and influenced many of his plays. 1938. Graduated from the University of Michigan where he has all sorts of jobs to help pay for his education and also began to write plays. 1940. His marriage to Mary Grace Slatter ended in divorce. (Two children--Jane and Robert) 1956. His marriage to Marilyn Monroe entailed great notoriety, also ended in divorce. 1962 Married photographer Ingeborg Morath with whom he still shares his Connecticut home. (One daughter--Rebecca married to actor Daniel-Day Lewis). He died on 10 February2005.
2. His Achievement American playwright who combined in his works social awareness with deep insights into personal weaknesses of his characters'. Miller is best known for the play DEATH OF A SALESMAN (1949), or on the other hand, for his marriage to the actress Marilyn Monroe. Miller's plays continued the realistic tradition that began in the United States in the period between the two world wars. With Tennessee Williams, Miller was one of the best-known American playwrights after WW II. Several of his works were filmed
3. His Major Plays 1944. The Man Who Had All the Luck --closed after 4 performances 1947. All My Sons, opened at the Coronet (1/29) and ran for 328 performances--Miller's first major success. 1949. Death of A Salesman, opened at the Morosco (2/10) for 742 performances. 1950. The Enemy of the People, adapted from Ibsen's play, opened at the Broadhurst (12/28) for 36 performances. 1953. The Crucible. Opened at the Martin Beck (1/12) for 197 performances. 1956. A View From the Bridge, one-act version paired with another one acter, A Memory of Two Mondays. Opened at the Coronet (9/29) for 149 performances.
1956. A View From the Bridge, two-act version) opened at London's Comedy Theater 1964. After the Fall, opened at the ANTA Washington Square (1/23) for 208 performances. 1964. Incident at Vichy. Opened at the ANTA Washington Square (12/3) for 99 performances. 1972. The Creation of the World. The comic retelling of the story of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel stories intended to make a philosophic statement opened at the Shubert and closed after just 20 performances. 1974. The Price. Opened at the Morosco ( (2/07) for 425 performances.
1977. The Archbishop's Ceiling. Opened at the Kennedy Center in DC (4/30). 1980. The American Clock, adapted from Studs Terkel's Hard Times, opened at the S.C. Spoleto Festival Spring 1980 and at the Biltmore in New York (11/21). 1991. The Ride Down Mt.. Opened in London and at the Williamstown Theatre Festival (Summer 1996). 1993. The Last Yankee (1/05) at Manhattan Theater Club (to be revived 1/98 at Signature Theater). 1994. Broken Glass. Opened at the Long Wharf in New Haven (3/01/ and at the Booth (4/24). 2005. Resurrection Blues, Miller's last play.
4. key dramatic devices The idealist who pays too much for his inability to compromise. The Great Depression. The theme of man's responsibility to his fellow man. The Guilt of the survivor. An ordinary man's tragedy doubling as symbol of a larger societal flaw. A Penchant for Big Operatic Speeches.
5. The Death of a Salesman (1949) Douglas Henshall as Biff and Brian Dennehy as Willy Loman
6.Quotes From Miller Plays He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person -- Linda Loman, Act 1, Death of a Salesman. You can't eat the orange and throw the peel away--a man is not a piece of fruit! Willy, Act 2, Death of a Salesman.
(A Salesman) He's a man way out there in the blue riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back--that's an earthquake! Charley, Requiem, Death of a Salesman. There are times when you want to spread an alarm, but nothing has happened --Alfieri, A View from the Bridge, Act 1.
A little man makes a mistake and they hang him by the thumbs; the big ones become ambassadors --Joe Keller in Act 2, All My Sons. Once and for all you must know that there's a universe of people outside, and you're responsible to it. --Chris Keller (to his mother) in Act 3, All My Sons Since God made everything, and God is Good, why did he make Lucifer?---Arthur Miller
The only thing you can do today without a license is you'll go up the elevator and jump out the window -- Gregory Solomon in The Price, Act 1 Solomon, the character who brings the play its light touch, thus amplifies his statement that he is both registered and licensed as an appraiser He allowed himself to be wholly known --Alfieri in Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, Act 2.
II. Saul Bellow ——Winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Literature 1. His Life Saul Bellow was born in Lachine, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal, in 1915, and was raised in Chicago. He attended the University of Chicago, received his Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University in 1937, with honors in sociology and anthropology, did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, and served in the Merchant Marine during World War II.
2. His Major Novels The Victim (1947) The Adventures of Augie March (1953) Seize the Day (1956) Henderson the Rain King (1959) Herzog (1964) The Last Analysis (1965) (play) Mr. Sammler's Planet (1970) Humboldt's Gift (1975) The Dean's December (1982) More Die of Heartbreak (1987) The Theft (1989). Mosby's Memoirs and Other Stories (1968) + Him with His Foot in His Mouth and Other Stories (1984) (short stories)
3.Looking for Mr. Green It provides a good introduction to Saul Bellow's fiction, particularly in its concern for the experience of contemporary man in search of his own identity. two different levels a realistic depiction of a relief worker's dedicated attempt to search for an unemployed, crippled black man in the slums of Depression Chicago in order to deliver a welfare check a symbolic quest to discover the relationship between reality and appearances.
4.Issues Raised in Looking for Mr Green 1. Money as a formative influence on the creation of identity. 2. The problem of the noncompetitive in a highly competitive society. 3. The clash between idealism and cynical "realism," between the noble idealist and the cynic. 4. The quest of a stubborn idealist in an irrational world. 5. Racism and stereotyping.
5. Historical Issues and Themes How does society help the downtrodden (in this story an unemployed, crippled black man) in bad economic times (e.g., the depression)? The story also examines the problems of race, class, and gender. Other issues that the class might focus upon are: the plight of the noncompetitive in a capitalistic, highly competitive society; how money influences character; the alienation of the urban black man.
6.Personal Issues and Themes How does an idealistic humanist (i.e., the typical Bellow hero) reconcile noble ideas with the harsh facts of the human condition? Is man essentially a victim of his situation or is he the master of his fate? What is Bellow suggesting about the problem of human suffering and evil? The relationship of the individual to his society? The relationship of appearance to reality? The clash between the human need to order and make sense of life according to moral principles and life's amoral disorder, discontinuity, irrationality, and mystery?
7. Questions for Reading and Discussion/ Approaches to Writing (a) What is the purpose in the story of Grebe's supervisor Raynor? What is Bellow's attitude toward Raynor's cynical "wisdom"? Is concern for the individual anachronistic? For philosophical studies? (b) What is the purpose of the encounter with the Italian grocer who presents a hellish vision of the city with its chaotic masses of suffering humanity? (c) What is the purpose of the Staika incident in the story? Raynor sees her as embodying "the destructive force" that will "submerge everybody in time," including "nations and governments." In contrast, Grebe sees her as "the life force." Who is closer to the truth?
8. Discuss the theme of appearance versus reality. (a) Bellow ends the story with Grebe's encounter with the drunken, naked black woman, who may be another embodi- ment of the spirit of Staika. Why does Bellow conclude the story this way? Has Grebe failed or succeeded? Is he deceiving himself? (b) David Demarest comments: "Grebe's stubborn idealism is nothing less than the basic human need to construct the world according to intelligent, moral principles." Discuss. (c) Believing that "Looking for Mr. Green" needs to be seen "as one of the great short stories of our time," Eusebio Rodrigues argues that the Old Testament flavors it. This story is "a modern dramatization of Ecclesiastes." Discuss
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