The Life of Arthur Miller
Writing plays was not something Arthur Miller had always done. He started out just like any other average boy in America. His favorite pass times were football and baseball. Playing the piano and singing with his family were also an enjoyable way to pass the time. It was not until the economic crisis of the Depression that his life changed. He and his family moved to Brooklyn to try and escape the economic downfall. The move to Brooklyn was what would the start the change of a normal boy into of one of America's greatest playwrights. From a struggling teenager to a wealthy successful man, Arthur Miller led a life of excitement most people never dream of. (Andersen pg. 9)
The stock market crash of 1929 was harsh on the Miller's fortune. After living in a Harlem apartment for his first fourteen years of existance, Miller was forced to move to the more rural Midwood area of Brooklyn. Miller found Midwood to be a place where the soundness of his safety was not in question as opposed to the violence of Harlem. Miller's life experiences and hardships growing up during The Great Depression inspired many of his well known and award winning works such as All My Sons and Death of a Salesman. These plays were influenced by his father's business defeat and way of life. (Bloom pg. 11-13)
In school, Miller's grades was a little less than great when he graduated from high school. He began working at an auto parts warehouse as a shipping clerk to earn money for college. Miller received fifteen dollars a week. Arthur had to move away from his family in 1934 in order to go to college. With journalism as his major and being an editor on the evening paper, Miller started University of Michigan on conditional admission. (Bloom pg. 13)
Arthur entered a drama-writing contest for the Annual Avery Hopwood literary prize during his attendance at University of Michigan. He entered his six day work of art called No Villain and won the first place prize of two hundred and fifty dollars. Impressed by his triumph, Miller changed his major to English. No Villain later was revised and became known as They Too Arise. With the new and improved version of No Villain he won twelve hundred and fifty dollars from the Bureau of New Plays. Honors was his next play and this work also won a Hopwood prize. (Bloom pg. 14)
While attending University of Michigan, Miller met Mary Grace Slattery. A woman of high standards and idealistic views stole Arthur Miller's heart, He became engaged to Mary in 1938. Miller signed up for the Federal Theatre Project in New York City after he graduated from college. The Federal Theatre Project is a government sponsored relief agency that provided work for writers, actors, and technicians during the Depression. Miller's job of twenty-two dollars and seventy-seven cents a week came to an end after a short period of time. After reports from the House Un-American Activities Committee concerning people in the project and communist sympathies, congress stopped funding for the agency. (Andersen pg. 14-15)
Before marring Mary in 1940, Arthur gave radio plays a shot. He wrote for what became known today as NBC and CBS. Miller toured army camps for a movie called The Story of GI Joe, and wrote a book out of a journal he kept called Situation Normal in the year of 1944. In 1945 he published one of the first American novels that focused on anti-semitism titled Focus which also became a movie in 2001. All my sons was written that very same year and ran on Broadway in 1947 for three hundred and twenty-eight performances, won the Drama Critics Circle Award, was produced in Paris and Stockholm, and became a film in 1948. (Andersen pg. 16 & 17)
Miller had two children with Mary: Jane ( born 1944 ) and Robert ( born 1947). Arthur, Mary and the children lived on a farm in Connecticut and had a house in Brooklyn. Miller also built a writing cabin for him to create his works in. After working on a love story for...
References: Anderson, R. (2006). Writers and Their Works: Arthur Miller. Tarrytown, New York., Marshall Cavendish Benchmark
Bloom, H. (2003). Bloom 's BioCritiques: Arthur Miller. Broomall, PA., Chelsea House Publishers.
Cavendish, R. (June 2006). Marilyn Monroe Marries Arthur Miller: June 29th, 1956.
History Today v.56 no.6 p.60-1
Clark, A. and Hamadey, G. (2000, October 27). A Conversation with Arthur Miller. The Michigan Daily. Retrieved November 07, 2008, from http://www.pub.umich.edu
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