2016 Reading List #6: All My Sons, by Arthur Miller

Even after reading just two plays in this Arthur Miller collection of mine, I feel like I’m getting to know the playwright pretty well (though a project I completed last fall doing in-depth research on his life and work certainly helped that fact).

But the fact that I’ve now read five of Miller’s plays seems like a mini-accomplishment. Sure, there are many more to read, but reading five works by any one author seems significant.

All My Sons is one of Miller’s plays with a title I’d heard a bit more often than some of his others, and it was the only other play of his that I’d owned (though hadn’t read) until receiving this collection.

This is the play Miller wrote before his most famous work, Death of a Salesman, which makes pretty perfect sense when you examine the content; there are clear moments in this play that establish the foundation upon which Salesman is built. A mother and father a bit out-of-touch with reality, a complicated sibling dynamic between two brothers, hope for better lives–all things Miller touches on again and again in his plays. There was even a line or two that easily could fit into the dialogue of Salesman here, so I felt like All My Sons was really Miller’s warm up before writing what’s known as the greatest American drama.

All comparisons to later works aside, All My Sons is pretty great in its own right. If you’re a fan of Miller’s works or looking for a play addressing the struggles of middle class America, this is the play for you.

 

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