James Cain's Life and Mildred Pierce
Five Works Cited James M. Cain's biography produced different events that reappear in
Mildred Pierce. The son of James and Rose Cain, James M. Cain was born in
Annapolis, Maryland. He was the oldest of five siblings. James mother was
a opera singer and this is one of four distinct pieces of his life that
reappears in Mildred Pierce. When Cain had grown up he entered the labor
force, where he failed at a variety of jobs. He eventually became a
editorial writer, who enjoyed and excelled at writing articles about food.
Later James Cain became script writer, moving to Hollywood in the process.
This brief outline of James Cain's life provides excellent insight into
why he wrote Mildred Pierce the way he did.
People and events that have to do with the opera spring up through
out Mildred Pierce because opera was a big part of Cain's life. James Cain
had first hand experience with singing and the opera taking lessons at one
point in his life. This is probably why James includes two instructors,
Mr. Hannen and Mr. Treviso in the story. Mr. Treviso in particular,
conduct's operas at the Hollywood Bowl. Another reoccurrence from Cain's
life seen in Mildred Pierce is a specific type of opera singer. Paul
Skenazy writes, "Cain's mother was a trained opera coloratura" (2). This
specific type of opera singer is exactly what Veda becomes after she quits
the piano. James Cain then makes Veda a successful opera singer who has a
beautiful voice. Cain does this because he wants to honor his mother.
Madden contributes, "Subconsciously, my novels about singers are really
votive offerings to her" (2). He also gives Veda everything she wants
because he wanted the same for his mother. James Cain's respective for his
mother and love of the opera she participated in have a huge influence on
the content of Mildred Pierce.
Cain's entrance into the job...