In book III, Locke discusses abstract general ideas. Everything that exists in the world is a particular “thing.” General ideas occur when we group similar particular ideas and take away, or abstract, the differences until we are left only with the similarities. We then use these similarities to create a general term, such as “tree,” which is also a general idea. We form abstract general ideas for three reasons: it would be too hard to remember a different word for every particular thing that exists, having a different word for everything that exists would obstruct communication, and the goal of science is to generalize and categorize everything.
Luckily for Miller and for the American stage, All My Sons was a success. Opening at the Coronet Theatre on January 29, 1947, the first night's notices were mixed--with the crucial exception of the New York Times , whose Brooks Atkinson admired Miller as a genuine new talent. As usual, the Times review swayed all the others, and All My Sons ran for 328 performances (quite respectable at that time) and won the New York Drama Critics' Circle award for best play of 1947, beating out Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh (which at the time had been coolly received and would only become a landmark of American drama in retrospect).