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USING MEDIA FOR TEACHING ENGLISH: LITERATURE: MILLER'S MR. PETERS' CONNECTIONS


amazon.de Mr. Peters' Connections
by
Arthur Miller
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Arthur Miller's new play Mr. Peters' Connections which he wrote in 1998 is currently staged at London's Almeida Theatre. At the age of almost 85, Miller still seems to be productive as ever, as his newest play will be Resurrection Blues. Mr. Peters' Connections is a dream-play that takes place inside one man's head. Public events are mingled with private experience and Miller has his spokesman on the stage. Mr. Peters, a man 'older than everyone I ever knew', is a version of Miller himself. The characters that appear to him as he takes an afternoon nap are elements of his own memory and emotions.
The dream takes place in a derelict New York building that represents America. It started off as a bank, then became a public library, as the wealthy wanted to relieve their bad consciences by being philanthropic to a society which they had exploited. But the depression of 1929 and its following years put an end to philanthropy. It was then that the Miller family began suffering from poverty and deprivations.
The protagonist Peters, a former fighter pilot, not only deplores the depression years, but also the Vietnam War which 'killed all the nightclubs...destroyed all the optimism. And the pessimism'. As a pilot he also mourns the decline of PanAM since the post-war years. Peters is associated with a black bag lady (a wino) and another emblematic contemporary figure, a racist, aggressive shoe-salesman representing a negative aspect of American nationalism. Then there are Rachel Woodrich, an obvious Marilyn Monroe figure, who embodies an image of unhappy desire, and the Russian-Jewish Groucho Marx figure who turns out to be a long-dead brother recalling the family conflicts (a topic of so many other of Miller's plays). Rose, who is married to the artist Leonard, turns out to be Peters' daughter who tells him that she loves him. This makes him say: We must love one another or die.


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