Arthur Miller Drama Analysis
A back injury prevented Arthur Miller from serving in the armed forces during World War II, but in characteristic fashion, he became involved in the war effort by gathering material for a screenplay, “The Story of GI Joe,” which was never filmed but instead became the basis of his book Situation Normal, in which he reported on army camps in the United States and on soldiers’ attitudes toward the war in which they were preparing to fight. For the most part, the soldiers had no great interest in the democratic principles for which Miller believed the war was fought, but he elevated one war hero, Watson, to a representative position as a figure whose intensely avowed loyalty to his company represents the democratic solidarity many others cannot articulate. Miller admitted candidly the skepticism of Watson’s company commander, who doubted Watson’s wholehearted commitment to rejoin his fellow soldiers in one of the most dangerous theaters of the war: “The company pride that made him do the great things he did do is gone now and he is left unattached, an individual,” who yearns for—yet probably fears—returning to men he knows he will never see again. Thus, Situation Normal was transformed into the drama of how Miller’s innocent convictions about the war were challenged by psychological and social complexities; indeed, the book is informed by a crisis of conviction that Miller did not fully recognize until the writing of After the...
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