Read books FocusAuthor Arthur Miller –

Written In , 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 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 Him 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 Review

10 thoughts on “Focus

  1. says:

    A chilling study into the rise of anti Semitism during the closing stages of the second world war that centres on Mr Newman a personnel manager living with his mother who on a regular basis witnesses the abuse of his neighbours and locals who are of different race and culture but chooses to turn a blind eye and just get on with his life But after he starts wearing glasses he is mistaken for a Jew and persecuted, so begins internally to question what drives ordinary people to act this way and how can the problem be overcome.Miller is such a better Playwright than a novelist and in generally it shows, dealing with a difficult subject matter he handles well but there are so many other pieces of literature out there that do a better job regarding the pre and post war struggles Challenging and truthful but ultimately doesn t really hit you so much on an emotional level.

  2. says:

    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 Semitism.The hero, Lawrence Newman, lives in a row of houses in the Borough of Queens 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 quickly 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 Jewish.Is 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 colleagues.This 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 consequences 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 despise.In 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 it PS I am looking forward to comparing this book with Gentleman s Agreement by Laura Hobson.

  3. says:

    This was a very powerful novel Despite its short length, Miller here has written a very thought provoking and enlightening story, that of a man in 1940s New York, swept up in the dark and increasing undercurrent of anti semitism which was at that time growing like a cancer among some people Despite the book being written than seventy years ago, it still seems very relevant and important in the face of current anti Islamic rhetoric and the struggles of other minorities to gain civil rights in the many years since the book s publication.On top of this, you have some beautifully powerful characterisation in the establishment and description of the central protagonist, quirky and witty as it is My only gripe was that the book did tiptoe towards the boundary of heavy handedness at times, almost as if there was a level of contrivedness in how things panned out I couldn t escape the feeling of studying important books like this at school, had I been able to ignore these and just read the book as a novel, I may have rated it higher.

  4. says:

    Heftiges Buch und zeitlos.

  5. says:

    Bir toplulu un toplumun do u tan gelen belli zellikler merkezinde de il ilkeler zerine kurulmas n n gereklili i, mahalle bask s , rk l k, kad n erkek ili kileri sade ak c bir dille anlat lm Sevdim arp c bir kitap olmu.

  6. says:

    Arthur batte Ferdinand 10 a 0Potrei lisciare il pelo ai miei quattro lettori su raccomandazione in realt lo sto facendo raccontando di averlo scovato intonso tra i libri trasportati in campagna alla rinfusa intonso e con un anobino vivo e vegeto che vi passeggiava sopra N 52 della primavera del 1966 Sicuramente comprato sull onda emotiva del film di Visconti di qualche anno prima trasmesso in tv messo da parte per impegni scolastici esami di V ginnasio prima e per pregiudizi mutuati dai ma tres penser sessantottini poi non tutti ci arrivammo a quegli anni con Proust, Joyce ,Kerouac o Balestrini Chi pensa che il caso non abbia le sue leggi si sbaglia M ero portata in campagna una manciatina di libri tra cui Bagatelle Che c era di meglio per uscire dal disgusto che mi aveva lasciato il troppo lodato Ferdinand che aggrapparsi a un vecchio Oscar degli anni miei quando Ogni diletto e gioco Indugi avo in altro tempo Giuro, dell autore ricordavo solo il nome di quei due drammi celebri e gli Spostati e logicamente il suo matrimonio con Marylin, oltre la smorfia di disprezzo al solo pronunciare il suo nome Quando ho cominciato a leggerlo ho capito che Arthur non aveva fatto che mettere in scena i Ferdinand americani con tutto il loro bagaglio di antisemitismo e le loro vittime Singer il minore aveva accennato al disagio di sentirsi ebrei nella democraticcissima America e anche Roth ne ha fatto un suo argomento privilegiato ma li avevo letti come fatti privati in quel mondo libero in quei tempi bui del vecchio continente un disagio di chi non accetta di essere come tutti Di essere affetti da quella che la psicologia ha definito con un acronimo SCARED il gruppo delle reazioni che il diverso subisce nella societ osservazione insistente, curiosit , disgusto, ripulsa, imbarazzo e terrore Ma questo non che il primo passo che il non ebreo, antisemita moderato, Lawrence Newman dalle fattezze semitiche ma che cazzo sono queste stigmate deve subire sul lavoro, nel suo quartiere, nei bar, nei posti di vacanza Quando sposa una bella donna,antisemita spinta ma disgraziatamente anche lei con tratti ebraici, le cose precipitano viene aggredito, malmenato e tradito dalla stessa sposina Ma il suo riscatto morale dietro l angolo dove il vero ebreo pasticciere del quartiere viene aggredito assieme a lui.Si libera dal suo antisemitismo perch per quei pazzi furiosi il sembrare gi essere ma essere cosa Essere tutto quello che il talentuoso Celine rovescia in bella prosa modernista quasi postmoderna in duecento pagine illeggibili beceri pregiudizi indegni di un maestro anche se solo a posteriori Il modesto A Miller quello a cui tutti preferiscono l Henry dei Tropici mette magnificamente in scena i violenti portatori americani di quei pregiudizi d autore, facendoti provare nausea vera non con un truculento melodramma ma usando un uomo piccolo piccolo, propenso a stare nell ombra e a fare come le tre scimmiette e come i milioni di tedeschi del III Raich, suo malgrado costretto a mettersi nei panni di un ebreo Facendone un uomo dabbene.

  7. says:

    Ge en y llar boyunca hem yo un bir korku hem de umutla metro s tunlar n ara t r p durmu tu Zira bela karsa hangi rolde i inin rahat edece inden hi bir zaman emin olamam t Ama imdi belayla sokakta, herkesin n nde kar la m t ama i in sonu k t bitmemi ti Aksine kom ular yla aras nda daha nce hi hissetmedi i bir yolda l k ba kurulmu tu Trende koltu unda otururken kendin g l hissetti Hatta sert Sf 75 Hikayeden kar lacak ders, tramvayla eve do ru yol alan Bay Finkelstein a hi olmad kadar net g r n yordu Tamamen masumum, dedi kendi kendine Ne gizleyecek ne de utanacak bir eyim var Utanmas , gizlemesi gereken bir eyi olanlar varsa b rak gizlensinler, b rak ne olacaksa olsun, kendilerine bi ilen rol oynas nlar, haks z olduklar n i ten i e bilmenin verdi i su luluk duygusuyla ya as nlar Utanacak hi bir eyim yok ve bir ey al p evimde gizlemi gibi sinmeyece im Bu lkenin bir vatanda y m Tramvaydan inerken, ben d r st bir insan m, diye d nd ve onu eve g t recek metroya do ru y r d Ben tzik de ilim, dedi turnikenin kolunu iterken Cehenneme kadar yollar var Beni tzik in durumuna d remeyecekler Sf 181

  8. says:

    40 20 .

  9. says:

    Just who is the main character in Arthur Miller s Focus Is is Mr Newman or Mr Finklestein Only if the reader makes Mr Finklestein the main character can you actually see that Arthur Miller thought anti Semitism to be wrong I humbly feel that the real focus of Focus is the persecution of Mr Finklestein for nothing than being Jewish I want to call it shocking how anti Semitic almost the whole cast of characters even Mr Newman are but the real truth is that I know that religious, racial and ethnic persecution still exist even in our America today so I can t even feign some surprise in it Arthur Miller is correct in his assessment of the racism and in his indictment of the anti Semitism that existed in the forefront of his time It is true that the amount of and brutality of the hate crimes in the novel are hard to read about They are so hard to read through that the hate crimes could leave a reader so disgusted by those events that they could easily miss the entire point of this novel.

  10. says:

    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 vay There s a perfect twist at the end A good book, a great lesson, it made me think about my own prejudices, unconscious or otherwise.