Butler Play Analysis

Powerful Essays
Florida Studio Theatre’s production of Butler by Richard Strand is witty, full of word play, and all too relevant. As a country embroiled in conversation around race, immigration, identity, and at the core of it all who has the right to humanity, this question is posed to us once again as with this play. Butler embodies both the past and present while presenting a unique opportunity to learn from it and change our future.
At the top of Butler, both Major General Butler and Lieutenant Kelly refer to Shepard Mallory as “The Negro Slave.” Neither man knows Mallory’s name. As their conversation about “The Negro Slave” continues issues of legality and more specifically the fugitive slave act are of the heart of the conversation as to what their
…show more content…
Underneath the hilarity of their interactions and the word play engrained in all of their relationships Shepard Mallory becomes a human being to both Butler and Kelly as they begin to learn more about him. But legality keeps them aiding him.
Later in the play as Major Cary, a member of the Confederate army, comes to retrieve Mallory, as well as two other slaves, language again plays a huge role. In a last ditch effort to save Mallory, Butler uses a loop hole within the Articles of War to claim Mallory as Contraband, an implement of war. As such he can be impounded by the Union Army. The shift in terminology from Slave to Contraband changes Mallory’s status. This shift in status put Mallory in a much better position than his original status as a Slave.
Terminology, language, and how we categorize people socially decides who has humanity, who has a story, and who doesn’t. Butler and Kelley in their interactions with Mallory, even the simple act of learning his name begin to gain empathy and even interest in his story. In today’s society with categories and identity constantly shifting how individuals identify themselves versus how society identifies individuals becomes just as important as the difference between Slave and
…show more content…
This often leaves workers without sustainable income and forces them to become dependent on their employers for basic necessities. Florida has been at the center of conversations around migrant farmworkers and modern day slavery. In fact in the past 10 years there have been six federal prosecutions of Florida Farmworker employers. Language has plays an instrumental in how these atrocities can occur and shifts in language can change how often these situations can occur.
The movement for Immigrant rights has fought take ownership of this language. Many in this movement refer to themselves as Undocumented Immigrants. What if we as a whole shifted our language? In referring to this demographic as Undocumented rather than Illegal we can start to move away from the negative connotations the word illegal holds much like the shift from Slave to Contraband changes Mallory’s

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Octavia Butler Analysis

    • 952 Words
    • 4 Pages

    interpreting his or her society is a constant job that they uphold. This is why the world has a vast variety of them. With their different minds, genres, styles, and themes. No single person can say writers such as William Shakespeare, and Octavia Butler are one in the same. A writer's role is challenging and is constantly changing as time progress. Time is a constant and waits on no one. However, one author that is not bonded by time is William Shakespeare. A well renowned poet playwright, and…

    • 952 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Butler

    • 646 Words
    • 3 Pages

    RR: Lee Daniel’s The Butler Sara Crocker For this reader response, I chose to see the movie, Lee Daniel’s The Butler. I was really surprised at how I took the movie. It was almost as if the rest of the day, I continued to see parts of the movie in my head and be disgusted with my ethnicity and the history of white people’s actions. It was sickening to see how black people were treated, and the extremes that white people would enforce in order to inhibit their freedom. Throughout the life of Cecil…

    • 646 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Butler Film Analysis

    • 395 Words
    • 2 Pages

    struggle the African-American culture faced. Daniels did this by properly identifying his target audience, defining the message he wanted to convey to his audience, and in turn, compiling an all-star cast to complete his vision for the movie. “’The Butler’ offers a powerful cinematic corrective to past failures and, in many instances, is revelatory in its deft treatment of America's racial…

    • 395 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    CASE #0 Butler Lumber Company Analysis I. Conclusion Based on the information and corresponding financial statements provided, we concluded that: Bulter Lumber Company has to collect money from outside resources to compensate its funding gap of 383,000 USD. From the perspective of banker, we won’t approve Mr.Butler ‘s loan request From the perspective of firm’s financial advisor, it is better to finance from new shareholders than to borrow from bank. II. Analysis i. Funding gap There…

    • 1117 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Butler

    • 773 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Gospel Extravaganza I can honestly say that I'm truly blessed to know the faculty and staff that I do on campus. I've always been told that it's not about what you know but about who you know and on May 30th, 2014. I've always been a fan of gospel music, considering I grew up in the church and most of my family is in the ministry in some way, I guess I didn't really have a choice. I've been on he choir myself since before I can remember and there just something about gospel music that makes me…

    • 773 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Butler Lumber

    • 1899 Words
    • 8 Pages

    Butler Lumber After thorough review and analysis of Butler Lumber’s financial reports, I believe that it is in the best interest of Northrup National Bank to not only approve the requested $465,000 loan, but look to increase the loan amount. A review of the 5 C’s will show in more detail the decision to approve this loan: 1. Capacity/Cash Flow: Butler runs a lean operation that has allowed them to have success due to competitive pricing. They have met their financing needs by increasing…

    • 1899 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Professor Cox English 211-009 Irma Lozada 3/30/09 Essay #2-Kindred by Octavia butler a figurative representation of the cultural meaning and construction of gender and race in her society. In its metaphoric interpretation, the loss of her limb therefore signifies something much stronger and darker. It acts as a powerful statement on the sacrifices that black Americans, especially black female Americans, have to make in order to coexist in a hostile world. live in a world that enables them…

    • 633 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Butler Lumber

    • 1308 Words
    • 4 Pages

    1. Why has Butler Lumber borrowed increasing amounts despite its consistent profitability? How has Mr. Butler met the financing needs of the company during the period 1988 through 1990? (It would be helpful to develop a cash flow analysis (use vs. source) and the cash flow statement based upon the income statement and the balance sheet provided in the case for the period of 1988 to 1990.) Through the period of 1988 to 1990 Mark Butler has met the needs of financing through decreasing the amount of…

    • 1308 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    When Union forces began recruiting and training, Butler encountered a problem, many of these men knew only domestic and field work and even more of a bigger problem, they were illiterate. Butler appointed Lt. Col. J.B. Kinsman and Eaton as chief of a Department of Negro Affairs; this meant that they were to serve as aids to persons who gave secular and religious instruction to blacks in Virginia and North Carolina. In March 1863, Secretary of War Edward M. Stanton, ordered the beginning of the systematic…

    • 368 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The novel Fledgling by Octavia Butler analyses race relations and eugenics in society. Through the use of another intelligent species Butler lets the reader experience what happens when humans are not at the top of the food chain. While making the reader question the controversy over the use of eugenics and genetic engineering, Butler uses the story as a parallel of race relations in America. In society today, there is a debate over eugenics, whether humans should be looking into genetic engineering…

    • 494 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays