Re-read Act 3 from page 73 (John: And you might speak to the committee?) to page 78 (Carol: Yes. Perhaps you should) Discuss how ideas about power are presented in this extract and at least one other point in the play.
Power is a very strong theme in Oleanna, it’s one that runs through out the play. Mamet was aware about the power struggles in America at the same time he wrote the play. The play was written in the 1990’s, at this time in America there was a very hot topic about ‘Gender Struggles’. It was the point where men had more power than women. It was the rise of second wave feminism, It seemed to be taking place almost, but not simultaneously, around the world. The call for the protection of women’s rights was being made. Carol has the most power at the start of this extract, she cleverly attempts to blackmail John into changing the university’s reading list. This all backfires when John hits back by getting frustrated and taking over the conversation, he’s doing what she wants by reading the list but then when he realises that she wants to remove his book from the list. She has planned this before meeting John in his office, she’s been through it with her group and this is where her confidence came from at the start of the extract. The list is Johns only chance for Carol to withdraw her complaint, it’s his option to save his job and home life. John shows power through his book, he’s put it on the list that his students have to study during the course. But, in one point of the play John refers to academic freedom but he’s making his students read his book. John’s agenda is money, he needs it to put down a deposit for his new house, to take care of his wife and his son. John’s temper starts to spark as Carol irritates him further, he begins to be blunt and his lines become shorter. Carol’s always had issues with understanding Johns language, but in this extract she uses language that he cannot criticise. Johns reacts very...
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