Lillian Hellman And Her Legacy In Playwrighting: Online Essay Help

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During her time in the 1900’s, Lillian Hellman was considered to be one of the most influential and successful playwrights of her time. While expanding into many different genres throughout her career as a playwright, Hellman maintained a role as a screenwriter as well at a very popular time in Hollywood. She was predominantly known for her highly controversial themes that ultimately allowed her to express her strong political and social views. By doing this, Hellman was able to display her feelings towards the society at which the time she was living in and bring a sense of realism through writing rather than in person.

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Born in 1905 in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts, Hellman was raised in a family that was constantly on the move due to her father’s continual business trips to New Orleans lasting as much as six months at a time. She would eventually study at New York University from 1923 to 1924 and later attend Columbia University for the majority of the remaining year. It was after this year that Hellman really began to find interest in writing and decided to pursue it with dreams of becoming a professional someday. It was at this point that Hellman who become married to a man by the name of Arthur Kober, who wrote for the New Yorker. Moreover, this was not a bad decision for Hellman, Kober would go on to help her get various jobs throughout New York City. These jobs would consist of working as a book reviewer for the New York Herald Tribune and reading scripts for several studios. Prior to the marriage ending in 1932, Hellman also received a job as a manuscript reader for Liveright Publishers before eventually taking a job as the main play reader for producer Herman Shumlin. After numerous years of contemplating her writing career potential, Hellman was talked out of giving up her dream by her lifelong mentor that goes by the name of Dashiell Hammett. Hellman would spend a good amount of time attempting to learn from Hammett and watch on as he continued to pursue a writing career of his own. Furthermore, Hellman spent the majority of her life battling social issues and portraying them through her work.

Many said that Hellman’s works invited controversy and acted as a getaway for her to spread her opinion on society. Upon finishing “The Children’s Hour” in 1934, Hellman life incident in Scotland through her writing. The basis of the play involved a child’s accusation against two female teachers in which he believed they had sexual relations with one another. Ultimately the play would take a drastic turn as one of the women commits suicide do to the multiple accusations of her sexuality. This play is a perfect example of Hellman’s style of writing and how it compared to many other writers of her time. Hellman was not afraid to push the norm of play writing and attempt to reach the audience in a way much different than others. Her clear and sharp characterizations allowed to her obtain a very dramatic feel to her plays while still hinting the topic of morality. Unfortunately, in her next play, Hellman would not have as much success as in her previous one. This play was known as “In Days to Come” and was performed in 1936. It consists of a struggling family that faced the issue between union and management. It was not until her next play that Hellman’s success would begin to show way again. With arguably one her most successful play of her career, Hellman developed a masterpiece with her writing known as “The Little Foxes,” which to this day still ranks as one of the most impactful in American drama. The play depicts a family in the South that has been nearly taken over by hate and greed.

Additionally, Hellman continued her success even throughout some of the hardest times of the 1900’s. During the period of World War II (1939-1945), she wrote a total of two plays that both received great praise for their overall meanings and earned various awards for doing so. Her first play she wrote during the time in 1941 was “Watch on the Rhine” that discussed the story of a unlikely hero that spoke out against the Nazis. This play was extremely controversial due to the large consideration of people from Germany that were scattered throughout all of the world. Not many knew what happened in the Nazi concentration camps and many did not want to know. Hellman believed this topic was one that should be projected to all of society through the form of playwright and allow for people to visualize it rather than just read it. Moreover, Hellman earned the New York City Critics Circle Award for this write and decided to not stop there. Her next play was three years later in 1944, “The Searching Wind”, which stood for the movement against fascism. The play was to designed to somewhat criticize the lackluster group of Americans that failed to put an end to the rise of Germany’s Adolph Hitler and Italy’s Benito Mussolini. After this, Hellman decided to write “Another Part of the Forest” which again portrayed the Hubbard family that was in “The Little Foxes. ” She also ended up directing this play as well unlike some of her other work. It took five years for Hellman to come out with her next playwright which debuted in 1951 and was named “Autumn Garden. ” However, this work appeared to lack the normal passion that many would see in others writes by Hellman.

In addition to, many people never took time to really get to know Lillian Hellman outside of her theatre work. Despite focusing her writing on plays, Hellman also enjoyed being an author for several books throughout her time. She wrote a book in 1956 for the musical “Candide” and then several other adaptations for multiple plays. These plays include “Montserrat” in 1949, “The Lark” in 1956, and “My Mother, My Father and Me” in 1963. “My Mother, My Father and Me” was seen as her exit from her more realistic style and into a much more humorous one. Hellman also delved into three different personal writings that described her political views, relationships within in her personal life, and her overall career as a playwright. Many of her political views involved the concept of communism during her time and to whom she believed took part in it.

Hellman also received several honorary degrees from numerous universities and colleges that only added onto her already impressive resume of theatrical awards. Just to name a couple, Hellman obtained a Gold Medal from the Academy of Arts and Letters for Distinguished Achievement in the Theatre in 1964 and was elected to the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1973. After receiving various other awards for her work in playwriting as well as authoring books, Hellman later died on June 30,1984, in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. In conclusion, Lillian Hellman was a very successful playwright and author during her time. She pushed the borders of what writing in realistic terms was truly like. Many were afraid to say certain things she portrayed through her writing, but she was not. Despite having several fall offs in her career in which she questioned whether she should continue to write, Hellman constantly pushed forward and received great feedback for many of her works.

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