I came out of a culture in which my uncle, my father - they were all salesmen of one kind or another. My father was a manufacturer. He also, in effect, had to sell that stuff. And if he didn't literally do it, his men did. So, selling was in the air through my boyhood. The whole idea of successfully selling was very important.
Success, instead of giving freedom of choice, becomes a way of life. There's no country I've been to where people, when you come into a room and sit down with them, so often ask you, "What do you do?" And, being American, many's the time I've almost asked that question, then realized it's good for my soul not to know. For a while! Just to let the evening wear on and see what I think of this person without knowing what he does and how successful he is, or what a failure. We're ranking everybody every minute of the day.
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Americans don't speak foreign languages, by and large. Their interest in anything beyond the borders of the country is limited. A European of any cultivation has to speak a couple of languages; he inevitably without being very thoughtful about it gets to understand what other people think about him.
If you complain of people being shot down in the streets, of the absence of communication or social responsibility, of the rise of everyday violence which people have become accustomed to, and the dehumanization of feelings, then the ultimate development on an organized social level is the concentration camp... The concentration camp is the final expression of human separateness and its ultimate consequence. It is organized abandonment.
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Glamour, that trans-human aura or power to attract imitation, is a kind of vessel into which dreams are poured, and some vessels are simply worthier than others... A beautiful woman can turn heads but real glamour has a deeper pull... Glamour is the power to rearrange people's emotions, which, in effect, is the power to control one's environment.
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Life is an endless, truly endless struggle. There's no time when we're going to arrive at a plateau where the whole thing gets sorted. It's a struggle in the way every plant has to find it's own way to stand up straight. A lot of the time it's a failure. And yet it's not a failure if some enlightenment comes from it.
A genuine invention in the realm of ideas must first emerge as an abstruse and even partial concept? At first blusha new idea appearstobe verycloseto insanity because to be new it must reverse important basic beliefs and assumptions which, in turn, have been institutionalized and are administered by one or another kind of priesthood with a vested interest in an old idea.
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I'm a writer, and everything I write is both a confession and a struggle to understand things about myself and this world in which I live. This is what everyone's work should be-whether you dance or paint or sing. It is a confession, a baring of your soul, your faults, those things you simply cannot or will not understand or accept. You stumble forward, confused, and you share. If you're lucky, you learn something.
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When it is recalled that until the Christian era the underworld was never regardded as a hostile area, that all gods were useful and essentially friendly to man despite occasional lapsesl when we see the steady methodical inculcation into humanity of the idea of man's worthlesseness - until redeemed - the necessity of the Devil may become evident as a weapon, a weapon designed and used time and time again in every age to whip men into a surrender to a particular church or church state.
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Here is all the invisible world, caught, defined, and calculated. In these books the Devil stands stripped of all his brute disguises. Here are all your familiar spirits-your incubi and succubi; your witches that go by land, by air, and by sea; your wizards of the night and of the day. Have no fear now-we shall find him out and I mean to crush him utterly if he has shown his face!
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[W]e conceive the Devil as a necessary part of a respectable view of cosmology. Ours is a divided empire in which certain ideas and emotions and actions are of God, and their opposites are of Lucifer. It is as impossible for most men to conceive of a morality without sin as of an earth without 'sky'. Since 1692 a great but superficial change has wiped out God's beard and the Devil's horns, but the world is still gripped between two diametrically opposed absolutes. The concept of unity, in which positive and negative are attributes of the same force, in which good and evil are relative, ever-changing, and always joined to the same phenomenon - such a concept is still reserved to the physical sciences and to the few who have grasped the history of ideas.
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Pray calm yourselves. I have eleven children, and I am twenty-six times a grandma, and I have seen them all through their silly seasons, and when it come on them they will run the Devil bowlegged keeping up with their mischief. I think she'll wake when she tires of it. A child's spirit is like a child, you can never catch it by running after it; you must stand still, and, for love, it will soon itself come back.
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Proctor: I am only wondering how I may prove what she told me, Elizabeth. If the girl's a saint now, I think it is not easy to prove she's fraud, and the town gone so silly. She told it to me in a room alone- I have no proof for it. Elizabeth: You were alone with her? Proctor: (stubbornly) For a moment alone, aye. Elizabeth: Why, then, it is not as you told me. Proctor: (his anger rising) For a moment, I say. The others come in soon after. Elizabeth: (as if she has lost all faith in him) Do as you wish then. (she turns) Proctor: Woman. (she turns to him) I'll not have your suspicion any more. Elizabeth: (a little loftily) I have no- Proctor: I'll not have it! Elizabeth: Then let you not earn it. Proctor: Now look you- Elizabeth: I see what I see, John.
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I look for John Proctor that took me from my sleep and put knowledge in my heart! I never knew what pretence Salem was, I never knew the lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women and their covenanted men! And now you bid me tear the light out of my eyes! I will not, I cannot! You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!
he'll come back. We all come back, kate. These private little revolutions always die. The compromise is always made. In a peculiar way. Frank is right- every man does have a star. The star of one's honesty. And you spend your life groping for it, but once it's out it never lights again. I don't think he went very far. He probably just wanted to be alone to watch his star go out.
Pathos truly is the mode for the pessimist. But tragedy requires a nicer balance between what is possible and what is impossible. And it is curious, although edifying, that the plays we revere, century after century, are the tragedies. In them, and in them alone, lies the belief-optimistic, if you will, in the perfectibility of man.
The play is really a kind of nightmare. It ought to flow rapidly and effortlessly from one moment to another. In London, we had difficulty with the set, which required too much effort to move around. Having gotten the benefit of seeing it done once, I wanted to work on the script, to make it sharper and more pointed.
Well, I spent six or seven years after high school trying to work myself up. Shipping clerk, salesman, business of one kind or another. And it's a measly manner of existence. To get on that subway on the hot mornings in summer. To devote your whole life to keeping stock, or making phone calls, or selling or buying. To suffer fifty weeks of the year for the sake of a two-week vacation, when all you really desire is to be outdoors, with your shirt off. And always to have to get ahead of the next fella. And still "" that's how you build a future.
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The Crucible became by far my most frequently produced play, both abroad and at home. Its meaning is somewhat different in different places and moments. I can almost tell what the political situation in a country is when the play is suddenly a hit there it is either a warning of tyranny on the way or a reminder of tyranny just past.
In his play depicting the Salem Witch Trials, the author illustrates profound psychological bullying. The ringleader of young girls suspected of unsavory conduct, frightens her friends into silence by warning: Now, look you; All of you. We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam's dead sisters, and that was all. ... Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night, and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you.
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God really does take our work seriously: It is wrong, it is a sin, to accept or remain in a position that you know is a mismatch for you. Perhaps that's a form of sin you've never considered - the sin of staying in the wrong job. But God did not place you on the earth to waste away your years in labor that does not employ his design or purpose for your life, no matter how much you may be getting paid for it.
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The witch-hunt was a perverse manifestation of the panic which set in among all classes when the balance began to turn toward greater individual freedom. The witch-hunt was not, however, a mere repression. It was also, and as importantly, a long overdue opportunity for everyone so inclined to express publicly his guilt and sins, under the cover of accusations against the victims.
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Few occasions are as joyous to small children as funerals, almost better than the big wedding blowouts that take place at night when it's hard to stay awake. A small boy will never be harshly criticized at a funeral; he is more treasured as death comes close and all his wickedness vanishes before the inescapable fact that thank God, he is healthy.
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A play's an interpretation. It is not a report. And that is the beginning of its poetry because, in order to interpret, you have to distort toward a symbolic construction of what happened, and as that distortion takes place, you begin to leave out and overemphasize and consequently deliver up life as a unity rather than as a chaos, and any such attempt, the more intense it is, the more poetic it becomes.
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They know your name, address, telephone number, credit card numbers, who ELSE is driving the car "for insurance", ... your driver's license number. In the state of Massachusetts, this is the same number as that used for Social Security, unless you object to such use. In THAT case, you are ASSIGNED a number and you reside forever more on the list of "weird people who don't give out their Social Security Number in Massachusetts."
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