Tag Archives: Bridge to the Blog

Andrew Arenas’ Bridge to the Blog

In class we discussed Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play and what goes into the performance of a character. For this post I want to outline what we should all look for whenever analyzing a play. First it is important to identify the key elements to better organize your thoughts. The setting and time period, main characters, supporting characters, main conflict, and resolution are the best ones to look at. Since plays can be in a variety of different genres like tragedy’s and comedy’s, look for the specific features that define them. Its best to look at how it meets or strays from the expectations you had for that particular genre.

Taking consideration of historical context is also very helpful. Plays can send a message or a statement about a particular time period. Analyzing themes or topics and seeing how they tie together is an important step in analyzing a play. Characters that act out all of these themes and topics are the main evidence to support an analysis if they employ typical dramatic conventions. The general organization of a play is solely based on its setting and plot. Look at the effect of the audience.

Looking at the appearance of the stage is crucial to knowing the element of the setting. In the case where you are reading a play, examine the significance of stage notes or any kind of context an author gives you before an act starts. Dramatic works of any kind combine many literary elements from poetry and prose fiction and that drama employs an objective point of view. Take a look at the production and what has significance in it any symbols, themes, or even the lighting of the stage.

Lastly, look and see if the play fails to answer any questions that you feel that need to be answered. If it’s a minor thing than it is okay to gloss over them. Knowing what your analysis is what is significant is important to leave the person reading it something to think about well after they have read it.

Kylie Bean’s Bridge to the Blog

The class discussion today focused on the major themes and symbols found across all three acts of Ruhl’s Passion Play.

The major symbols we discussed today were the red sky, the fish, the birds, the wind, transportation, and fertility.  We discussed the latter two in greater depth.  The class went into specifics within the third act, with the symbolism of the tollbooth as a symbol of a confessional and communion, and as a place of absolution.  We also discussed the American folklore of highways, rest stops, and toll booths as liminal spaces, adding to the air of the supernatural.  Discussions on the symbol of fertility throughout the novel were separated into male and female.  The main question of this symbol was if fertility was inherently a gift.  We discussed Mary’s suicide in act one, Eric’s relationship with the footsoldier in act two, and the conversation on abortion in act three.  For act two, we focused even more in depth with the interaction between the footsoldier and the German officer as a corruption of fertility as good and pure.

The major themes were on the role of nationalism, war, and violence; the interaction between love, sexuality, purity, and chastity; the interaction of faith and insanity; wounding and death; and lastly, the relationship between sacrifice and salvation throughout the play.

We discussed sacrifice and salvation at length.  One idea that was brought up was that Eric, who played Jesus in act two, was a Pontius Pilot figure in the act, as he claimed that he was free of guilt for Violet’s death because he was ‘just following orders’.  This relates to many questions that were asked during this discussion, but can still be examined in greater depth: Who is sacrificial?  Who or what do people turn to for salvation, and do they receive it?  Who do you confess to?  Who is responsible for the slaughtering of innocent people?  Who is guilty and who is innocent?  And, even more jarring, is anyone?

Alyssa’s Bridge to the Blog

Today in class we had a discussion about Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Much of the discussion was dominated by various themes and ideas from the children’s book, such as Alice’s confusion of her own identity or her intelligence. The one theme in particular that I thought was under-discussed was the theme of imperialism. Alice is sweet and well-mannered, but is also tremendously close-minded about the bizarre culture of Wonderland. The one event in particular that struck me as significant was when Alice stumbled upon the home of the Duchess. The Footman stood beside the door when she arrived hoping to gain entry. Alice looked towards the Footman and asked what she should do. To her dismay, the Footman responded “[a]nything you like” (p. 44). Alice becomes increasingly frustrated because where she comes from, the footman is supposed to open the door for guests and instruct them on where to find the authority figure of the house. When that doesn’t happen, Alice calls him “perfectly idiotic” (p. 44) and opens the door herself.

Alice feels superior over the residing creatures of Wonderland. Not only in this scene, but also in a good portion of the novel such as when she is mistaken for a serpent by a pigeon or when she loses interest in the baby she saves because it turned into a pig. In all of these cases, Alice does not try to adapt to the culture and its people, but ignores or insults them for not acting like her. The Alice we meet at the beginning of the novel is very different than the Alice we have at the end. As her adventure comes to a close she finally comes to the conclusion that just because a culture is dissimilar from your own does not mean it is wrong.

Jennifer’s Bridge to the Blog

Today in class we talked about the Reader Response Criticism and the many different vocabulary words linking to it. Since there were so many places of focus we didn’t get to linger on one topic for very long, so I wanted to focus on our discussion of gaps and how the interpretation of these gaps in addition to the facts of the text impacts a reader’s perspective. In class I pointed out that in the Great Gatsby there are many gaps in detail involving Nick, as well as Gatsby. Gatsby himself can be viewed as an entire gap in the novel which is important to derive meaning from the novel because Gatsby is the title character and he drives a lot of the plot forward. The gaps in Gatsby’s background are helpful for delving more in to Reader Response theory because if an informed reader is looking at the different versions of Gatsby they get throughout the book they are going to make interpretations based on these gaps in the character background of Gatsby. I thought it was very interesting that certain Reader Response critics think that a book is viewed by the reader through a combination of facts and the interpretation of the gaps throughout the book. The combination of facts and interpretation is a big part of Reader Response theory because this theory focuses primarily on the reader. Personally, I like the Reader Response criticism because it allows the reader’s own interpretations, not necessarily background, but opinions on gaps or facts in the text that makes a reader’s own interpretations essential for breaking down a novel such as the Great Gatsby. I thought it was very interesting how the Great Gatsby was able to play in to the Reader Response conversation very easily, as well as how the idea of an individual reader’s interpretation can shape their own meaning from the text, not necessarily a very outlandish meaning but one that vary slightly from person to person.