The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neill

220px-The_Hairy_ApeIf you enjoy drunken ranting, some violence, and drama then The Hairy Ape, by Eugene O’Neill, is the perfect play for you. The story is about a New York fireman, Yank, who drinks, tries to act like he is the best, and is always trying to “tink”. Yank, and the rest of his firemen crew, are all drunks and they always argue and threaten one another, but usually people refer to them as Neanderthals or apes. The whole crew is against upper class society and always complain about it, then trying to claim they don’t want to be a part of it. They spit on the idea that they would live their lives like the rich and sophisticated. The story really gets started when the daughter of the crew’s boss comes down to watch them work. Yank wildly looks at her, while trying to build morale for his team, and she makes a disgusted face and refers to him as a “filthy beast”. This sends Yank into a fit of rage and he vows to take revenge on her and the upper class. He runs into a series of unfortunate mishaps like being imprisoned and not fitting in.

The play really focuses on what lower class means. The story outlines the disrespect upper class people show to the lesser of citizens. Yank learns the hard way what the world saw him as. He found out that he was just a particular individual that didn’t really belong anywhere.

By Craig S.

The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O’Neill

9780300117431Everyone has a reason for being in a bar drinking their lives away, but some reasons are more interesting than others. The play The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O’Neill helps show us that sometimes there maybe more to people in the bars we just assume are alcoholics, and that sometimes a long waited arrival of somebody can have adverse effects. This play takes place in the summer of 1912 in New York, inside a bar and roomer called Harry Hope’s saloon, with several drunks that all have interesting pasts, and reasons why they’re there. Most of the story is dialogue between several people in the bar who are awaiting the arrival of a great friend named Hickman. Hickman is often called by his nickname “hickey”, and is seen as a great companion, who always brings great fun and cheer to the bar. From the description the characters give, you can tell that Hickey is a fun- loving, nice, likable fellow that visits the bar for a drink every now and then. The Iceman Cometh is a very readable play, easy to understand the language, easy follow what’s happening, and not too complicated. Much of this story has religious aspects and comparisons that are at first hard to catch, but with the arrival of the “iceman”, or vessel, the comparisons become much more clear. This play easily captures the attention of the reader, or viewer, and easily became a favorite play of mine. It has been a joy to read, and I would definitely recommend it to anybody who enjoys great work; Eugene O’Neill was really at his prime.

By Amanda C.

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams is a play about an unconventional American family during the 1940s. Amanda Wingfield has always told her daughter Laura to keep prim and proper so that when the day comes that a gentlemen caller comes, she will be ready. As a single parent, Amanda wants her daughter to attend business school and have a good job so she will have an opportunity with a good man. Laura, however, who dropped out of business school, would rather play with her animals in her glass menagerie. Finally, Amanda asks her son Tom to find someone for Laura. Reluctantly, Tom finds someone who is willing to come to dinner; however, the dinner ends

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up being anything but what is was planned to be.

This play shows us a family in destruction as the mother Amanda, tries to keep her family between her illusions and reality, while the older son Tom tries to find a sense of freedom and adventure. The daughter Laura, although not the most exuberant girl, has her own charm and delightfulness while trying to find her place in the world. The author tries to show a family filled with loss yet also with love.

As Tom narrates us through the play, it slowly drags on leaving readers waiting for the end. Although Tom, uses not only stage direction but also music and illusion to give the reader a vivid image of what is going on, the reader tends to skip over those parts in order to find the real climax of the story. While reading the play it is as if the story never really starts and it is just as though someone is just writing down what went on throughout their day. When something finally does happen, it ends to quickly and had such a lack of impact that it leaves the reader wondering if there was any point to the play at all. The idea of a quaint little family with traditional views does not appeal to today’s youth and many will find it difficult to enjoy such a play. The Glass Menagerie is not worth the read unless you want a quick read to get through the day.

By Shilpa N.

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

200px-DeathOfASalesman Death and depression have always been main factors in Arthur Miller’s books. Death of a Salesman is no exception.
The play starts with Willy Loman facing his problematic life, constantly confusing the past with the present while looking for the exact moment when his life went awry. Despite the bad memories of his dismal life, he believed that being well liked would make him a success. He instills this philosophy in his sons, Biff and Happy, but they grow up to have miserable lives. Willy desperately tries to win Biff over, but his advice only makes things worse.
When Biff realizes his dad’s horrible teachings, he decides to tell his father off. Willy doesn’t take it well, and Biff leaves for good. It hurts Willy to know Biff is gone but it hurts Biff even more knowing Willy will never confront reality.

Devastated Willy decides he would be better off dead. He plans to kill himself and give the insurance

money to Biff so he can start his own company. His plan goes amiss however, adding a twist to the death of poor Willy Loman.

Miller’s play is well written and interesting. While it’s hard to get involved during the first act its progression into an interesting but depressing story keeps you going. The script style writing is confusing when there are flashbacks, but soon becomes clear. The play is a page turner that leaves readers stunned with an ending they will never forget.

By Emma Z.

Our Town by Thorton Wilder

200px-Our_Town-1 The play, Our Town, is a Pulitzer Prize winning play/book by Thornton Wilder about life. Wilder portrays many amazing aspects in the book. He does this by revealing and portraying everyday concerns of people and then by manipulating successfully how everything works. The book is interesting in how it shows life and it’s devastations as well as the positives. Another interesting aspect about the play is how people die when they don’t want to, they thus come back as spirts. Wilder brilliantly plots life as the book goes from start to finish and then astonishes us. I recommend reading the book Our Town by the brilliant novelist Thornton Wilder because of the book’s intensity and it’s interpretation of life. (Side Note: Wilder’s play, Our Town is now a classic play that is performed by professional actors as well as amateur actors. The play can be seen almost anywhere, it’s success is amazing.)

Our Town is set in Grover Corners, New Hampshire. Grover Corners is a small, rural and isolated Town. We learn about various characters who involve as the story progresses. Characters: Dr. Frank Gibbs, Mrs. Julia Hersey Gibbs, George Gibbs, Rebecca Gibbs, Mr. Charles Webb, Mrs. Myrtle Webb, Emily Webb Gibbs, Wallace “Wally” Webb, Simon Simson, Mrs. Louella Soames, Howie Newsome, Joe Crowell, Jr., Si Crowell, Samuel “Sam” Craig, Joe Stoddard, Constable Bill Warren, Professor Willard, and the narrator. Our Town is basically about a love between Emily Webb and George Gibbs, its about their life and all the hardships they must handle. Emily is also faced with problems within her own family, especially her mom. Mrs. Julia Heresy Gibbs loves gossip and normally gossips with rest of the woman in the story. This gossip is also spread by other woman, which make many things hard in Grover Corners as well as bad. The book plays out of life problems and how people deal with them, and how they deal with death. A high of the book is when Emily dies however cannot expect it and returns as a spirt. The play, plays on with many spirts and becomes interesting hence the spirts. The play is a drama, and the drama becomes very interesting as the story progresses.

Our Town is very enjoyable play/book because Thornton really evolves and involves the characters and gets us interested. It’s a worth reading book and will tell you about life. Thornton tells us about life through a small town which relevant to a middle of no where town and shows us the cruelty of life, however, how life is still very precious.

By Sid M.

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller is a play revolved around the character of Willy Loman, a sixty year old striving to create his American dream. Miller follows the use of “grotesques” in his character of Willy Loman, as it seems Willy is completely focused upon his dream of becoming wealthy by being well-liked. This play can also be seen as a critique upon society’s definition of success and also the cold manner of business upon its loyal employees. This play not only reveals a message, but does it in such a way that readers can sum up conflicting emotions that lead to thoughts of societal change. At points, one may dislike Willy Loman due to his motto of being well-liked and he himself is not a likeable person. Yet, at the same time, readers pity this “common man” who is merely trying to survive in America. One may also see Miller’s use of characters to show what change needs to be done. Through Willy one may see a target of the

business world of “eat or be eaten” slogan. Biff Loman is the character who learns from his father and changes for the better. He realizes that only when he changes the establishments his father has instilled in him may he ever be happy. Death of a Salesman can be considered a tragedy, as the sense that Willy Loman plays the role of a tragic hero. Through his own inner flaw Willy meets his demise. Although fighting for his dream, Willy commits suicide. Death of a Salesman truly is a classic play that is perfectly fit for the America’s past times and even today.

By Vanessa P.

The Bad Seed by Maxwell Anderson

The play The Bad Seed by Maxwell Anderson is a very intriguing play that I have ever read. First off, we have an eight year old innocent looking blond girl named Rhonda who is friendly and nice, but has a extremely nasty side. What is it? Its that she kills whoever she wants just to get what she wants. Apparently, her first unexpected victim was Claude Daigle who apparently won the penmanship medal in a competition between him and Rhonda. I think it was surprising that she actually kill for revenge.
Then there was Rhonda’s mother, Christine. She was worried about the unexpected death of Claude and eventually recovered her lost memory of her childhood before she was adopted. She realized that she was the daughter of a well-known serial killer. Also, this new twist made it even scarier when she discovered her grandmother was one too and was executed after killing twenty people without a second thought.
This play is very interesting because there is still more to it, but scary indeed. I’m amazed that a little girl would even think of killing someone just to have something her way. I think this book is really popular because there is another movie made on it that is coming out soon as well.

by Roland P.

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

175px-StreetcarNamedDesireA Streetcar Named Desire is a very good yet sad story. In it is a girl by the name of Blanche. She gets kicked out of her home town for inappropriate behavior. She would have sex with countless guys. She is a confused girl who goes to live with her sister Stella and her husband Stalin. Stalin has a feeling that Blanche didn’t give Stella enough of the money they inherited. Angered by this he makes her life a living hell. One of Stalin’s friends, Mitch, starts to go out with Blanche so Stalin goes and tells Mitch about Blanche’s past. This causes Mitch to break up with Blanche. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Stalin comes home and rapes Blanche. When Blanche tells everyone, no one believes her and she is sent to an insane asylum and the story ends.

This is one of those stories that go from sad to even sadder. At the end Blanche is no longer in a state of reality, she is drunk and confused. The story is brilliant because it lets the reader expect some kind of happy ending for Blanche. A reader would expect the author to have some mercy on Blanche. Yet the story goes the other way around and ends really badly for Blanche. This story causes the reader to become enraged at Stalin during the course of the play. Yet when he wins after all the terrible things he had done to Blanche, it leaves the audience completely in shock. This story gives the reader an ending that not only surprises the reader but leaves the reader in denial of its ending. I think it is safe to say that it deserves two thumbs up.

By Aiby G.

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.

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

200px-DeathOfASalesmanThe screenplay, Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller has a background of the Great Depression which took place from the late 1920’s to early 1930’s. Willy Loman, a salesman working in Brooklyn, takes a role as a main character. He is a man with wonder and dreams, flipping back and forth from his imagination to his reality. His reality is not an interesting one. His business fails and his family is forced to move to New York City. On the other hand, he imagines to become a rich man and everyone will love him till his end. What struck Willy to think all this was because he saw in reality, a funeral of a rich and loved man. Hundred and thousand came and wept for his loss. Though that was the rich man’s reality and for Willy himself, he was only accompanied with only four people at his own funeral. This screenplay puts you into Willy’s life, about how his imagination really never came to reality.

In conclusion, this screenplay has many back and forth movement from reality to imagination. But I have noticed that Arthur Miller questions the thought of “American Dreams.” – belief of how all dreams come true in America. Miller’s work of blending Willy and the dream makes it an interesting screenplay. I will highly encourage people who love to read screenplays, love to act, and love to seek Arthur Miller’s magic in writing to read this screenplay.

By Ken K.