question on readings

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  • 1))) Post some ideas you have about Disciplinary Perspective you think are appropriate for the three plays you have read. Be specific and detailed and remember not to confuse theme with topic/ subject matter.

As long as you follow the rule that it is impossible to describe a theme in one word, you are on the right path. A theme will require at least one sentence to describe it.Of the three, which did you enjoy the most and why ?? 150 words

Question on readings

1. What is the dilemma that Mrs. Peters faces in the play? What complicates

matters for her? Why does she decide to suppress the evidence against Mrs.

Wright? Mrs. Hale experienced no such dilemma. Why?

2. In “Apropos of Women and the Folk Play,” Rachel France writes that “… the

truly ‘awful thing’ was not the murder of John Wright but the life that his wife

had been forced to endure, isolated in the Wright home” (in Women in

American Theatre, ed. H. K. Chinoy and Walsh, p. 150). Agree or disagree.

You do not need to have read the piece that is referenced here but you are

just evaluating the statement that comes from it. Why or why not?

3. In “The Women’s World of Glaspell’s Trifles,” Karen Stein says that Glaspell

“explores sympathetically the lives of middle-aged, married, rural women,

characters who would usually be minor figures in a play. In this way, Trifles

… is a uniquely female and, indeed, feminist document” (in Chinoy and Walsh,

p. 251). Consider both parts of Stein’s statement. Why might such

characters usually be minor ones and what is this really saying? How is the

play a “feminist document”? What does it document?

4. Trifles begins with a lengthy testimony by Mr. Hale in which he provides the

sheriff and the audience with background information or exposition. Most

plays follow the lead of Oedipus and provide exposition in bits and pieces as

the action develops. What are the advantages and disadvantages of opening

a play with such detailed exposition? Is it possible, as a director, to keep

Hale’s opening speech from being tedious and undramatic?

5. The men do not do a thorough investigation. In fact, their actions involving

this case are inept right from the moment they hear of the murder. List their

mistakes or actions that you would consider unprofessional.

6. Mrs. Wright requests certain items from prison. Why does she request an

apron and a shawl? Why does she care so much about her preserves when

she is held for murder? Reread the passages in which we hear of her

requests. Is Mrs. Wright being shrewd? Has she started to enlist the support

of the women with these requests?

7. Consider Mrs. Wright as a wife. What are her duties? What kinds of

relationship did she have with her husband? Did she accept her role and

positions within her marriage?

The Zoo Story- Edward Albee

1. Did you see the ending coming in the play? If so how, and if not, how did the

ending strike you?

2. How does the playwright create suspense and drama in this play?

3. How would you describe the characterization of the two characters?

4. What does this play reveal about isolation and the perils associated with


5. What universal Issues do you see in the play?

Fences—August Wilson


Fences describes the problems facing African Americans when they had to face new

legal freedoms that had not become social reality. There is a strong sense of fatherson

disillusionment and the death of the head of the household. The characters are

a depiction of those representing the results of an unjust society run by whites. This

play is the black experience of the time for the average African American of that


Pay attention to Troy’s inability to see the world changing around him and adapting

to that change, and as he becomes embroiled in a futile struggle against the forces

of life and the world be makes a tragic mistake and then pays for it dearly.

He became trapped in the very life he built to protect himself and his family as a

defense against the world, and he ends up cut off from his family.


1. Sometimes the following inscription is printed with Fences:

When the sins of our fathers visit us

We do not have to play host.

We can banish them with forgiveness

As God, in His Largeness and Laws.

How does this poem, written by August Wilson, affect your reading of the play?

How is Fences a play largely about forgiveness? What sons in the play had to

forgive fathers? Why? Who else needed to forgive? How does the ending reflect

this theme?

2. Troy says he was born with “two strikes” against him. What do you think those

two strikes could be?

3. Fences is about the black experience in America. What does this play say about

that experience? Give examples to support your response. Consider Rose’s

statement to Troy, “The world’s changing around you and you can’t even see it.”

4. Discuss Troy’s relationship with Bono. Why does Bono seek out Troy for his

friend? Why does he stop being close to Troy?

5. We see three generations of Maxson men in the play. How is each generation

similar and different? Can we say that from Troy’s father to Cory the Maxson

man has progressed morally? Consider Troy’s father’s physical abuse and Troy’s

standing above Cory with a baseball bat stopping himself from striking.

6. What is the significance of Troy’s song about Old Blue? Is it in anyway about the

failure of human love? Consider the theme of loyalty in the song and that Blue

woke Troy after his father’s brutal beating. What can we infer from Cory and

Raynell’s singing it together?

7. Although Fences is a serious play, there is much humor (some sexual and some

political). What did you find funny? Was any of the humor for satirical purposes?

What does the humor tell us about the characters?

8. The description of the home in Fences is revealing. How does it reflect the state

of the characters living there?

9. Discuss Troy’s refusal to allow Cory to accept a football scholarship to college. In

his interview with Savran, Wilson said that athletic scholarships are often

exploitative. Athletes “were not getting educated,” he said, “were taking courses

in basketweaving. Some could barely read.” Universities, he continued, “made a

lot of money off of athletes.” Do you agree or disagree with Wilson? With Troy?

Is the situation better today than in 1957?

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