Monday, 16 March 2015

Book Review by John Dawson

‘A View from the Bridge’ is a play by Arthur Miller and was first staged in America in 1955. The story is set in an Italian American neighbourhood, the small Brooklyn community of Red Hook, near Brooklyn Bridge, back in 1950’s New York. The story itself is somewhat of a tragedy. Arthur Miller attempts to show what life was like in the docks of Brooklyn, focusing on the life of a family who live there. 

The book starts of with a couple: Eddie Carbone and his wife Beatrice, and their niece, Catherine. Eddie, the main character, works as a poor longshoreman in the docks of Brooklyn. Catherine is learning to be a stenographer (someone who types what people say). Catherine, being an Independent Woman, decides against Eddie’s wishes to quit studying and start work. The story continues to unfold when Beatrice announces that her two cousins, brothers Marco and Rodolpho, have arrived safely in New York but as illegal immigrants.

The story takes another twist as Rodolpho and Catherine start dating, much to Eddie’s dislike. Both men start to have different ideas about which way their lives will go. Eddie, due to his protective nature, has worries that Rodolpho, with his talent in singing and acting, is planning to marry his niece so that he can gain citizenship. This leads him to send them to live in the flat above with other illegal immigrants. Eddie goes on to take some big steps that lead to a tragic end.

I remember the book of this play years ago for an assignment. The book and its storyline has remained one of my favourite books. The Arthur Miller makes a very good job of the story and you find yourself entangled in the lives of the characters.

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