3: Speech excerpt, Arthur Miller's "Concerning Jews Who Write," 1947.
Miller gave this speech at a dinner given in his honor by the Jewish Committee of Writers, Artists, and Scientists. This was two years before Death of a Salesman made its debut. In the first part of the speech, Miller explains why he doesn't write about Jews despite the fact that, in college, he wrote a Jewish play that “was a great success.”
- (Check for Understanding): In your own words, summarize Miller’s answer to, “Why didn’t I go on writing about Jews?”
- Do you agree that “an innocent allusion to the individual wrong-doing of an individual Jew” would have been blown out of proportion and used against the Jews in 1947? Do you think this was a good reason to stop writing about Jews?
- Think about anti-Semitism in the world today. Could Miller’s argument apply to the present moment? Why or why not?
- Based on this excerpt, how do you think Miller would respond to the comments of George Ross in resource 1 of this kit?
Source: Arthur Miller, "Concerning Jews Who Write," Jewish Life (March 1948), 7-10.