Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 224
MacLeish draws heavily on the Book of Job, part of the Old Testament, for the basic plot and some of his characters' names. The italicized lines in the printed version of J.B., spoken by Nickles, Zuss, and others, are quoted from the King James Version, first published in 1611.
Collected Poems, 1917-1952 (1952) was MacLeish's second Pulitzer Prize-winning book. The poems in this volume demonstrate MacLeish's range, from public to personal voice and from political to intimate themes.
In Songs for Eve (1954), MacLeish draws on the biblical story of Adam and Eve's Fall and their eviction from the Garden of Eden, as he draws on the story of Job for J.B. Here, Eve is glad to have left Eden because the knowledge of mortality makes her feel more alive.
The script for the play, as it was performed on Broadway in 1958, is available as J.B.: A Play in Verse, published by Samuel French, Inc. MacLeish and the director Elia Kazan collaborated on several substantive changes to make the play more effective dramatically and to resolve philosophical issues that Kazan felt were troublesome in MacLeish's original book.
In the novel The Red Badge of Courage (1895), Stephen Crane's protagonist, Henry Fleming, sees horror and destruction as a soldier in the American Civil War and comes to wonder how God can allow such evil to exist.
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