May 3, 2006
Miller, Resurrection Blues (to be published in February) -- Jerz: American Lit II (EL 267)"HENRI: Mr. Cheeseboro, I have spent a lifetime trying to free myself from the boredom of reality...I am convinced now apart from getting fed, most human activity - sports, opera, TV, movies, dressing up, dressing down-or just going for a walk - has no other purpose than to deliver us into the realm of the imagination" (76). I'm trying to work this out, but what about religion? Is FAITH just another entree into imagination? If it is, what else is there? Is Miller having the last laugh by writing a PLAY? (Another distraction!) Henri says that Charley must be crucified because he "still really feels everything" (76) and doesn't flee reality like everyone else involved in their own shallow life. How interesting, comnig from a playwright.
Posted by BrendaChristeleit at May 3, 2006 4:26 PM
I can see the irony here. Miller seems to be suggesting that playwrights mimic God and attempt to make "the boredom of reality" more sufferable for other people, because (when you think about it), the characters in this play and all of their activities were invented in Millers' own imagination.
There have long been comparisons between artists, writers, etc. and God. I think the act of creation plays a central role in this understanding, and it inevitably leads the reader to ponder his self-control: are we all just actors playing the roles God has seen fit to give us, according to the very script He's written, or does he give us the roles and then let us follow or stray from the script as we please? Of course, that leads to an even deeper question: whichever is true, why is it so?
Posted by: ChrisU at May 3, 2006 9:51 PM
If God really came back to earth (like Charley did, albeit for only a select few)and quieted any non-beleivers, or agnostics, would there be a need for art? Or, is the motivation to create precisely because there is a God? The topic of felix culpa (fortunate fall) came up in the Weds night class, which may help to answer your questions, Chris. This is the idea that the fall of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden was in fact, beneficial to us because it was only after they had strayed from His will that we are able to receive the full extent of God's love, if we lead virtuous lives. As I said in class, it's a grimly fatalistc view that religion ranks among sports, TV, etc., but by basing A PLAY ostensibly on the "second coming of Christ", Miller profoundly plays with the idea of mixing, art, religion and more banal pass-times as mere imagination. Paul had a good thought when he said that it would take a helluva playwright to tackle a concept with such deep religious implications, because without a certain brilliance, the play would undoubtedly fall flat. I see this tongue-in-cheek, combined with the really silly ideas of General's impotence, making $$ off every orifice, and remembering exotic locations by brand names as very memorable!
Posted by: Brenda Christeleit at May 4, 2006 9:32 AM