The Last Yankee by Arthur Miller

9781408123157This book was not easy reading, it required extensive analysis and forced you to think outside the box to understand the different points it tried to relay. I did not really like how the story started, I had no idea who they were and what the topic of their conversation was about. I was left guessing and I found that irritating. Later on I realized that they, Leroy and Frick were talking about their wives and the different experiences they were going through with their families. The setting was in a mental institution. That alone did not grab my attention. Their conversation consisted of how to cope with depression which is one of the main points of this story. As the men in their families they felt like they had to be strong and they shouldn’t show any signs of weakness. I was not so sure who they were talking about until the next scene took place. There were 2 women, Patricia and Karen playing a game of ping pong. They started talking about very random things that confused me furthermore. They started talking about if they took the right pill and how long they’ve been sober. This gave me chance to realize that the two men earlier were the husband of these women who are in a mental institution because of depression. Still this did not excite me.
On the deeper perspective, analyzing the play and trying to figure out why Arthur Miller a very famous author, known for his great works, would write something like this. Based from previous plays I’ve read that were written by him I have come to understand that this author wrote about things that dealt with issues in society and of history. So why I asked myself, why would he write something like this? Analyzing the play and trying to think outside the box left me very surprised. This play indeed deals with issues in our society and speaks of how history affects typical American families of today. It dealt with the issue of intermarriages in this case of a Swede and a Yankee. It speaks of how Yankee’s treated Swede’s badly in the past. Leroy was a Yankee while his wife Patricia was Swede. It tackles the issue of being accepted in the society and being controlled by history. This was one of the reasons that drove Patricia to depression. In the latter part however, they successfully overcome this obstacle. Another issue this play had touched base on was the issue about women, how women in this world are forced to live up to their husbands, parents, in-laws expectations.

The reader can not have the same conclusions and understandings without further analysis. Everything is implied, on the surface it seems shallow but it relays a deeper meaning.

Over all this was an ok reading, it did not grab my attention but analyzing was the key.

I would recommend this literary piece by Arthur Miller to those who love reading compositions dealing with issues of society and has a knack of going deeper than what is written. I would not recommend this book to those who likes the book to do the analyzing for them.

From a scale from 1 to 5, one being the lowest and 5 being the highest I am giving this book a 4 because it makes you use your head and helps you determine your strengths and weaknesses in understanding literature. I also liked the simplicity and above all the implied messages it relayed.

By Porscha G.

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