“Miracle Polish”

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.”

-Taylor

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