Political Correctness in Oleanna

Topics: Higher education, David Mamet, Oleanna Pages: 3 (1269 words) Published: March 2, 2006
Political Correctness in Oleanna

After reading or watching David Mamet's Oleanna, the reader or viewer more than likely asks him or herself about the genuineness of Carol's actions; is she genuinely confused and frustrated, and actually seeks help from her professor, or is it that she wants to manipulate John and be the cause of his demise. The fashion in which the play was written typically makes viewers ally with John, and despise Carol, because this is the way Mamet wants his audience to feel. Although Mamet's play is almost completely lacking symbolism, it is commonly believed that Carol represents the American political correctness movement, and in a negative fashion. Mamet wants his audience to witness how frustrating political correctness can be, and because of it, the situation of the play may actually be possible in today's society, and could lead to the end of a person's career, or even his or her life. Although a complete shift of power occurs throughout the span of three acts, John is really the only character who is greatly affected by this change. Carol appears to change drastically as well, but in fact, her position changes only slightly; it is only in comparison to John's situation where this slight change appears much greater. While Carol gains nearly nothing from this whole situation, while John loses his career, twenty years of work, his home and his family, simply as a result of Carol's selfish actions. In the first act, John is well dressed and controls the situation, displaying his power as a professor over a student. He interrupts her often, and frequently attempts to avoid the situation and tries to finalize the purchase of his new home. He is also very close to having his own group, the Tenure Committee. Carol, on the other hand, is dressed rather sloppily, very confused and frustrated and has no group like John; she is all alone. She does not seem to understand why she is doing so poorly after having done everything her professor...
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