(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Miller's essential theme, the thread of which runs throughout his fiction, is the creation and preservation of artistic consciousness. The process by which Miller's own artistic "self" was forged is the subject of the books which follow Tropic of Cancer and cover the years before he left the United States for Europe. In Tropic of Cancer, after struggling with economic disaster, marital chaos and artistic impotence. Miller had finally recognized that, similar to Camus's homme revolte, he could find value in anything that the "self" does. Thus, instead of trying to adjust to the demands of a world which did not suit him, he realized that he could claim recognition for his embryonic artistic instincts, and that this would enable him to survive anything that an unpleasant environment might produce. This insight was like a shield which he drew around him, and with his wrath cutting forests of fakery like an axe, he moved through Tropic of Cancer untouched by the social decomposition around him.

(The entire section is 165 words.)