There was a great worldwide economic depression during the 1930’s and 40’s. It originated in the US after the fall in stock prices and the Wall Street crash of October 29th, 1929. It affected many people as people’s personal income and tax revenue dropped. The international trade plunged by more than 50% and US unemployment rose to 35%. Some countries didn’t recover until after WW2. Firstly, the depression is shown in Wuthering Heights in Scene one “Latest official figure is twelve million unemployed”. This shows that it was a very worrying time for everyone as the unemployment rates were so low. In the 1930s, the American depression was a huge issue, there were companies still struggling. This is presented in Broken Glass in the quote, “How’s the Depression hit you?” In this quote, Hyman shows concern for Gellburg; making sure that he is coping with the depression. There is a link to the depression further on in the play “He’s a wonderful provider. There’s no Depression for Phillip”. His suggests that Phillip is a strong man who is able to cope this the impacts of the depression but as a reader, we can see that he does not cope with stress well.
A lot of people lost homes and businesses, “we were foreclosing left and right”, meaning that homelessness would have been a huge issue for many people.
Another example of when Miller presents the issues of the 1930s is when the Nazis are mentioned in the newspaper. Sylvia suddenly becomes partially paralysed from the waist down after reading about the events of Kristallnacht in the newspaper.
In the US in 1930s, Jews stereotyped to have good jobs “lawyer, businessman”. Phillip Gellburg is an intense man who hates himself and hates being Jewish. He is desperately proud of his son being given a commission in the army proving that Jews don’t just have to be doctors, lawyers or businessmen. Jewish stereotypes are also shown in the quote “For a Jewish boy, West Point is an honor”. Gellburg shows his insecurities about being a Jew; ‘It’s Gellburg, not Goldberg’. Gellburg doesn’t like being Jewish and he tries to separate himself from other Jews. The quote shows that he is punctilious and obsessive.
Sylvia says, “If I’d had the chance to go to college, I’d have a whole different life”. In the 1930s in the US, women were not allowed/not expected to go to college. The women were therefore also not supposed to work in the 1930s in America and they were stereotyped to stay at home, doing things such as cooking and cleaning. There was a huge lack of careers…