Find the link to this week’s published piece, Steven Millhauser’s “Miracle Polish,” in the New Yorker, here.
In this story, a man encounters a door-to-door salesman and purchases the product: Miracle Polish. The protagonist discovers that the polish has an extraordinary effect on mirrors and does, indeed, change his life. But what is the “miracle”?
A few other questions to ponder as we read…
-How does Millhauser use typical associations with door-to-door salesmen and their products to heighten the story? How does he turn them around?
-Consider the speaker’s transformations, and Monica’s, both in the mirror and outside of it: what are the causes? What commentary does Millhauser make about relationships, interpersonal and with oneself?
-What is miracle polish, really? What do the mirrors stand for?
-Compare this to Flannery O’Connor’s story, “Good Country People.”