by William Saroyan
The Time of Your Life is a period piece that is still significant today. Set at the start of World War II, but written five months prior, Saroyan does what artists have forgotten how to or become afraid of doing: he stays ahead of the curve and comments on where we're heading, and not on what has already come to pass.
Joe, the wealthy loafer, tries to help his disciple Tom save Kitty Duval, the burlesque queen turned prostitute. We have Nick, the bartender who tries to help everyone he can while keeping his business open when the head of the vice squad threatens trouble. We have another cop who wants to quit his job and his philosopher best friend, the longshoreman, who may come to blows with each other during the workers strike at the docks. We have a budding song and dance team and characters ranging from Arabs, society couples, young men who are ready to take over the world and the nurses who are weary and hesitant to fall in love with them. All of these people are searching for a new path through life when the road has suddenly disappeared before them.
Though the war is a strong focus of the piece, it only manifests itself as a shadow over the play.
If it is impossible for art to reach the soldier who is on the verge of killing or being killed, it can get ready for the soldier's son