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Archibald MacLeish Writing Styles in J. B.

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When a writer refers to a well-known character or story from the past, either from fiction or nonfiction, that writer is said to be using an allusion. This device works as a kind of shorthand, enabling a writer to convey a lot of information quickly and without explanation, because the reader can be assumed to bring knowledge about and responses to the things alluded to. Clearly, MacLeish's play is at least in part a retelling of the biblical story of Job. There are several parallels between the two stories. The name "J. B." echoes the name "Job." What is more, Sarah, Nickles, and Zuss all sometimes call him by the name Job. The names of J. B.'s comforters in scene 9, Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad, are the names of the three comforters in the Biblical story. Although Sarah and the children are not named in the Bible, MacLeish...

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J. B. from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.