Homely Girl, a Life (Anglais) Relié – septembre 1992
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The first story recounts the personal history of a woman who happens to be physically unattractive. And since other forms of beauty are even rarer than physical beauty, she runs the risk of being a "failure in life"--insofar as beauty always eludes her. But then, one day, she encounters a very beautiful thing and she melds with it, changing her world.
The next story is a snapshot of the surreal life of a popular celebrity, showing the possibility of having too MUCH "success in life." The story is kind of a gag, but intriguing. By the time it's over, your increasing sympathy may silence your laughs.
The last story is action-oriented: shipfitters braving harsh elements to make vital repairs on a Navy destroyer. The chief shipfitter is arguably a "failure in life." However, the story reveals that his faults aren't his own; they are the faults of his community. The story also suggests that people with "success in life," like the ship's Captain, probably owe their victories to others.
This book is yet another thought-provoking work of art by America's finest writer.
Each of the stories lack much in the way of plot, but they are intended to a be a sample of life. The first story, "Homely Girl, A Life" is about a less than pretty girl's struggle to find her place in the world. As if often the case in Miller's work, the woman lead is a flawed and sexaully promiscuous character. Her conflict seems unresolved except for her gaining acceptance for her appearance from some men. The second story, "Fame" is arguably the best. It is a brief and perhaps somewhat autobiographical story of a writer coming to grips with his celebrity status. Miller portrays the public is a negative light in this story. The last story, "Fitter's Night" is the one I enjoyed least. The story describes the life of a ship worker who can see himself as a hero only when he realizes the flaws in the members of his community. Much of the story is focused on a crisis at the ship yard in which a ship needs major repairs. Not being familiar with the lingo of the ship yard, I found these parts hard to read. Because Miller is a former ship worker, he has much more expertise in ship repair than his readers.
I greatly enjoy Miller's work, but this is not up to par with some of his other writing. If you can afford not own every Arthur Miller work, this might be the one to skip.