Onwueme, Shakara: Dance Hall Queen: Race

KEICHI: I don’t hate her. I’m just ashamed of…! Go on, say it! Sha-ka-ra, Dance Hall Queen! I don’t hate her. I’m just ashamed of…Nonsense! Cut off your wide “w” nose then. Is that why you’re always bleaching and scrubbing your skin? You self-hater! Go buy yourself some love!

It’s interesting to compare how western civilization tackle race compared to actual people of color writers. For example, we saw in the Merchant of Venice how the Prince of Morocco was chastised for his dark skin by Portia, who hopes that no one of his complexion comes to seek her hand in marriage again. There we see a white woman who criticizes a black man for being black. However, in Shakara: Dance Hall Queen, racism isn’t white-skinned vs. dark-skinned, it’s the struggle of wanting to adhere to what the ideal image of beauty is. It’s dark-skinned vs. society. Through this confrontation, we see that Shakara wants to be lighter skinned and has internal racism. It’s her self hate that drives her self destruction. While western plays tend to show simplified versions of racism, I personally think POC writers are able to dive into the effects of a racist society and how that affects the mentality and insecurities of those with darker tones.

Source: Onwueme, Shakara: Dance Hall Queen

Miller, Resurrection Blues

JEANINE:—Let’s be honest, Felix; this man is full of love—I think you realize that now, don’t you; all he is is love. But we aren’t. I’m not and neither are you. You’ve killed too many of us to forget so quickly.

In this story, Jack, or Charley, is implied to be the second coming of Jesus Christ. However, Jeanine and Felix believe in this stranger only when they realize that he is “full of love.” This is parallel to Jesus and God, often depicted as the epitome of love and caring. Although Jack and Charley remain ambiguous throughout the story and it never confirmed that this stranger is God/Jesus, Jeanine finds hope in her life through her love for him. However, in the end, she too accepts his crucifixion, putting her devotion in question.

Source: Miller, Resurrection Blues

Academic Article (Your Choice): The Moon and Rain in Our Town

In “”Quite a Moon!”: The Archetypal Feminine in Our Town,” Min Shen examines the feminine archetypes in the story of Our Town, such as the moon and rain. This play is organized into three sections: Daily Life, Love and Marriage, and Death and Rebirth. These three sections represent the waning and waxing periods of the moon. Just like the phases of the moon, the human race cycles through these three sections. Similarly, rain is repetitively used in the story. In the first act, the townspeople wonder if it is going to rain, while in the second act is has poured. However, the rain is a blessing as “Mrs. Gibbs’s and Mrs. Webb’s gardens enjoy prosperous growth of corn, peas, beans, hollyhocks, burdock, and sunflowers.” Lastly, during the funeral scene, Emily notices that it is raining and that the people are under umbrellas. However, I do not believe that these themes do not represent femininity. Rain and the moon represent change and rebirth. The rain waters the plants, creating new life. The moon cycles from full to completely hidden. If anything, these symbols represent romanticism, as the idea of life going through cycles is beautiful and simple.

Source: Academic Article (Your Choice)

Our Town

I remember reading this play in 11th grade, and there was a single quote that spoke to me. In fact, when I went to college, this quote was placed above my dorm wall:

Emily: Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? every, every minute?

STAGE MANAGER: No.

I think this question shows the purpose of this play, to reflect upon what happens in front of us. This play is quite ordinary in that it’s about simply town people. The play begins with a long description of the set up of the town and it’s history. While this seems like rather long and unnecessary exposition, it shows how the play values small details. As the story continues, we learn about Emily’s wedding and death. While these are monumental moments of life, the pacing of the play makes it appear how fast life goes by. This quote shows Emily’s lament as she stares at her younger self, but also gives a warning to the reading to be aware of their life while they live it. This is a message I hope to keep remembering as I go through my days of college.

Source: Our Town

Waiting for Godot: Lucky’s Speech

After reading Waiting for Godot, I still enjoy the value of Lucky’s speech. At first glance, it parodies the scholarly essays that we are meant to analyze. However, it’s also riddled with confusing and nonsensical words. However, here are the most important sections of the speech:

“Given the existence…of a personal God… with white beard… outside time without extension who from the heights of divine… loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown…are plunged in torment plunged in fire whose fire flames if that continues and who can doubt it will fire the firmament that is to say blast hell to heaven so blue still and calm so calm with a calm which even though intermittent is better than nothing.”

In this quote, Lucky describes how God is outside of time and loves us for “reasons unknown.” He describes hell and heaven, and that even though both are “intermittent,” both are better than nothing.

“considering what is more that as a result of the labors left unfinished…that man in short that man in brief in spite of the strides of alimentation and defecation wastes and pines wastes and pines…tennis football running cycling swimming flying floating riding gliding conating camogie skating tennis of all kinds dying flying sports of all sorts autumn summer winter winter tennis of all kinds hockey of all sorts penicillin and succedanea…for reasons unknown no matter what matter the facts are there.”

In this section of the speech, we see that man “wastes and pines” for this God. We also see a jumble of sports such as “tennis, football, running,” and so forth. These are all ways that we distract ourselves while we waste and pine away. The last line shows how we still don’t know why we exist, “no matter what matter the facts are there.”

“…considering what is more much more grave that in the light of the labors lost…the skull fading fading fading…Labors abandoned left unfinished graver still abode of stones in a word I resume alas alas abandoned unfinished the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the skull”

The quote ends with a description of death, as skull is repeated. However, it says “labors abandoned left unfinished.” These bleak words show the absurdist aspect of this play; there is no meaning in our actions. While we may play sports and distract ourselves, we are still unfinished and abandoned with no given purpose in life.

Source: Waiting for Godot

Academic Article (Your Choice): Waiting for Godot

In “The Concept of Nihilism and Torment in Samuel Barclay Beckett’s Waiting for Godot,” Azam discusses the intrinsic values of Nihilism. Azam defines Nihilism can be defined as “is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated.” A person who practices nihilism believes in “nothingness, have no loyalties, and no purpose.” In the play Waiting for Godot, two men are waiting for a person to appear who will never appear.

After reading about the tenets of Nihilism, it is evident that this play displays the common themes of “nothingness.” One of the first quotes said in Waiting for Godot is said by Estragon, “Nothing to be done.” This is the doctrine of Nihilism, that there is nothing that can be done because there is no purpose or value to any of our actions. Later in the first act, Estragon also exclaims “Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful!” This extreme sense of pessimism that Estragon and Vladimir’s lives will not change reflects how Nihilists view every action in the world. While Estragon and Vladimir wait for Godot, there is no purpose to their waiting and no reason to hope because Godot (or God) has no loyalty to Estragon and Vladimir. While Waiting for Godot is an absurd play, its dark and hopeless tones reflects the values of Nihilism.

Source: Academic Article (Your Choice)

Collier, “On Translating ‘Medea’”

In “On Translating Medea,” Collier shows the difficulties of translating such a powerful text without simplify the story into one of revenge and rage. In the heart of the story, the dynamic between Medea and Jason is both loving and abusive. One way he avoids draining the audience from all of the emotional energy is through changing the pacing and diction of the play into sounding like dramatic poetry. Suddenly, Jason and Medea are not simply screaming at each other, but rather the audience can focus on the words.

Source: Collier, “On Translating ‘Medea’”

The Irony of Medea

In “In This Way Lies the Greatest Safety: Irony, Euphemism, and Gnomic Utterance,” Helaine Smith discusses the dramatic irony used in Medea. This is best seen through the nurse, who demonstrates in the beginning of the show that she is aware of what is going to come to be. In fact, she informs the children, “come now, withdraw indoors, as quickly as you can,” as a way to foreshadow their ultimate peril (Smith 134). The nurse also warns the children to guard themselves from their mother’s “savage temper, and the hate-filled nature of her self-willed mind.” This is what ultimately is the major flaw of Medea, that her anger and temper towards Jason has no mercy. However, this dramatic irony does lead to question whether or not what happened could have been prevented had it been so obvious from the nurse’s perspective of Medea’s wrath.

Smith, Helaine L. “In This Way Lies the Greatest Safety:” Irony, Euphemism and Gnomic Utterance in Medea 1 -203.” Classical Journal, vol. 107, no. 2, Dec2011/Jan2012, pp. 129-141. EBSCOhost, setonhill.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aft&AN=71100478&site=ehost-live.

 

Source: Academic Article of Your Choice