Focus by Arthur Miller Summary ß E-book or Kindle E-pub

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Is alive and well in Brooklyn New York Here Newman an American of English descent floats through a world of multiethnic neighborhoods indifferent to the racism around him That is until he begins wearing glasses that render him Jewish in the eyes of others making. Man this book opened my eyes to a piece of American history I had no idea happened A short sighted man a gentile avoids wearing glasses because they accentuate those features of his that bring to mind the stereotypical face of a jew A dangerous image at a time when America is going through a nasty phase of anti semitism looking to blame the jews for all their problems; the economy the war the perceived decline in their neighbourhoods When his eyesight gets so poor it noticably affects his work his boss insists on him wearing specs and then his troubles really begin These new specactles are so powerful even his surname begins to look jewish Then if things didn't seem bad enough he falls in love and marries another gentile who looks a bit jewish too Oi vayThere's a perfect twist at the end A good book a great lesson it made me think about my own prejudices unconscious or otherwise

Summary Focus by Arthur Miller

Focus by Arthur MillHim the target of anti Semitic persecution As he and his wife find friendship and support from a Jewish immigrant Newman slowly begins to understand the racial hatreds that surround him A strong sincere book bursting with indignation The New York Times Book Revie. I came across this novel in a used bookstore and thought the premise sounded fascinating especially since I've been a fan of Miller's dramatic works The story follows Lawrence Newman after he awakes in the middle of the night to hearing a screaming woman being assaulted But since the woman is a minority he largely seems to pay it no mind The bachelor enjoys a home in a white Christian neighborhood and works in New York City and is largely successful until his eyesight gets the best of him and he's forced to get glasses His glasses as he feared make him appear Jewish in the race obsessed world of the World War II 1940s What follows is Lawrence's demise as those around him increasingly suspect him to be a Jew and he becomes subjected to the same cruel realities that he perpetuated just months before Miller's tale is a classic tale of what it's like to live in another man's shoes but also well layered with reflection by Lawrence as he comes to weigh the meaning behind the white supremacist view and how easily it insinuates itself into the minds of the privileged Originally published in 1945 there is so much about this book that resonates with the world today that it could have easily been written as today with only slight adjustments

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Focus by Arthur Miller Summary ß E-book, or Kindle E-pub Õ Written in 1945 Focus was Arthur Miller's first novel and one of the first books to directly confront American anti Semitism It remains as chilling and incisive today as it was at the time of its controversial debut As World War II draws to a close anti Semitism is aWritten in 1945 Focus was Arthur Miller's first novel and one of the first books to directly confront American anti Semitism It remains as chilling and incisive today as it was at the time of its controversial debut As World War II draws to a close anti Semitism. I had already seen and enjoyed a number of plays written by Arthur Miller when I came across a copy of “ Focus” I opened it thinking that it would be another of his plays but was surprised to find that it is a full length novel It was first published during the Second World War in 1945 My copy Penguin Modern Classics edition 1986 contained an interesting introduction that Miller wrote over 40 years later containing his explanation of Anti SemitismThe hero Lawrence Newman lives in a row of houses in the Borough of ueens in New York State Every working day he takes the subway into Manhattan where he works in a large company supervising a typing pool One evening he enters the subway carriage as usual and spots a man whose appearance convinces him that he is looking at a Jew At that moment his neighbour Fred spots him and taps him on the shoulder Very soon Fred begins telling Newman within earshot of the passenger who Newman suspects is a Jew how it was time to ‘clean up’ the neighbourhood in which they lived Newman is puzzled but Fred uickly explains that he means that the Jews should be scared off beginning with Mr Finkelstein who runs a newsagent shop at the corner of their street Lawrence learns that this can be achieved with the help of the ‘Christian Front’ an actual not a fictional anti Semitic organisation which flourished in the USA in the 1940s One evening Newman picks up a new pair of spectacles from his optician and takes them home In the seclusion of his bathroom he tries them on begins to see things clearly and then notices his face To his horror he discovers that he now looks like a Jew He sees his face and thinks that it is his idea of a Jewish face Even when his elderly mother first sees him in his glasses she says “Why you look almost like a Jew” This is only the beginning of his troubles for everywhere he goes he senses that people are guessing that he is a Jew and then causing difficulties for him The he tries to dislike Jews the that people around him including the Christian Front rowdies consider him to be JewishIs there really such thing as a Jewish appearance Even a neo Nazi website Der Stuermer is uncertain about this It says “ White gentiles should hopefully be able to recognize Jewish people based upon their physical appearance but granted this is not always possible” my underlining I don’t think that there is a typical Jewish appearance This only exists in the mind of anti Semites I would challenge anyone to accurately pick out the Jews from a group of Arabs and Jewish Israelis wearing Western clothing However Newman who has anti Semitic leanings and as we learn can produce his baptismal certificate thinks that he looks like a Jew as do his neighbours and work colleaguesThis feeling that he is unjustifiably regarded as a Jew poisons his enjoyment of life and almost wrecks his first serious love affair Newman reminded me of Christmas an important character in William Faulkner’s Light in August published in 1931 Christmas a young man who believes as do all the other characters in the story that he has some Negro ancestry does not look like a Negro but is treated as one with tragic conseuences Both Miller and Faulkner in their novels have successfully made use of this fear of feeling that you are or might be someone that you inwardly despiseIn summary I heartily recommend Miller’s well constructed novel It is as gripping and dramatic as his better known plays and you don’t need to sit in an uncomfortable theatre seat to enjoy itPS I am looking forward to comparing this book with Gentleman's Agreement by Laura Hobson