Prior to commencement of this course, I thought drama was disconnected from present day experiences, but I was surprised to find that even some of the oldest plays are still relevant today.
I expected to learn about particular components of the social and cultural backgrounds of the plays by simply looking through their scripts. After completion of this course, I found that those expectations were met. It is indeed possible to deduce the social and cultural values of a certain society simply from the plays written at that time.
Lastly, I did not expect to become more analytical about my own society as a result of studying drama. However, after doing this course, I have realized that ideologies are prevalent in almost all spheres of life; politics, education and entertainment are just some of the many examples.
Through this course, I have learnt how to distinguish between useful and harmful ideas. Since some plays can be rich and meaningful while others can be shallow and unbalanced, it is always best to assess them first. The same analysis can be applied in the above mentioned spheres of life.
The Valdez play and US national leaders
The aspect I found most convincing about the play was the commoditization of Hispanics and other minority groups in the US. Miss Jimenez came to purchase a brown Mexican who would be used in Governor Reagan’s campaign to appeal to a larger crowd. In other words, ethnic minorities were seen as a platform for advancing Caucasian Americans’ political or social goals.
They were treated as nothing more than a means-towards-an-end rather than genuine individuals. In this regard, one can say that the stereotypes prevalent within the country are reducing ethnic minorities to commodities. US national leaders would find this component quite useful as they would refrain from using ethnic minorities for political aims.
Instead, they would focus on each and everyone’s strong points. People would get appointed or promoted on the basis of their merits rather than their ethnic identity. Another aspect of the play that would be useful to US administrators that are dealing with immigration is the aspect of seasonal immigrants.
In the play, the first model represents the typical farm worker that comes in once in a year, works the fields and goes back home. This kind of worker requires special policy provisions that can allow him to make such seasonal trips in and out of the country. He renders a great service to the nation, but still wants to maintain links with his native home.
Concept of marriage in ‘A Doll’s house’
I was quite surprised that the idea of terminating a marriage was unheard of in those times. Women had very few rights in that society if they were expected to stay in marriages irrespective of how fulfilling or unfulfilling they were.
I think this play illustrates just how different societal values have become. In the 19th Century, women were not allowed to pursue freedom, independence and happiness (especially at the expense of marriage).
Nora is a woman who struggles to break free; her choice to leave her husband becomes a symbol of rebelliousness against her own society. This was the reason why the play caused a lot of unrest in western literature at the time. Fortunately, these challenges no longer exist in modern western societies. Women now have the ability to make choices in their marriages.
Proposal for ‘The glass menagerie’
The topic of the proposal will be “How the glass menagerie illustrates the breakup of family structures.” Through the main characters in the play, it will be explained that family structures in modern societies are quite fragile and can be easily broken. The work will focus on Tom and his struggles, Amanda’s maternal failures and Laura’s unfulfilled expectations.
In the article “Nightingale Benedict “This Menagerie is Much Too Cosy.” New York Times, 11 December 1983”, the author argues that at face value, Amanda seems like a well-meaning and concerned parent.
Many mothers have nudged their children to stop smoking and worried about them when life seemed too hard for them. However, Amanda crosses the line when she stretches these good intentions to the limit. She starts intruding into her children’s lives and uses words like to ‘we’ and ‘I’ to talk about their behavior.
Furthermore, Amanda assumes that what was good for her is good for her daughter too. She manipulates and controls her children and thus ends up destroying the very same people she had hoped to fix. The proposal will look at more of these arguments concerning Amanda’s character so as to relate them to the breakdown of family structures.
In another book, “Bloom, Harold. The Glass Menagerie. NY: Infobase publishing. 2006. Print”, the author talks about the shattered faith of Amanda’s only daughter Laura. Upon learning about Jim’s engagement, Laura goes through an emotional storm. The event took away her innocence and destroyed the faith she had in love. All these unfulfilled expectations were brought on by her mother’s pressures and her brother’s lack of support. This line of argument will be explored further in the proposal.