Unit 14 Arthur Miller &Saul Bellow. 1915——2005. 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:.
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.
1956. A View From the Bridge, two-act version) opened at London's Comedy Theater
Douglas Henshall as Biff and Brian Dennehy as Willy Loman
(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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
(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?
(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