America 's Struggle For The High

Decent Essays
America’s Struggle for the High “C”

Ishmael Reed’s play, “The C Above C Above High C” was written in 1997 with a focus on the desegregation of schools in Arkansas during the 1950’s. Reed portrays life in the 1950’s through the eyes of the famous trumpet player, Louis Armstrong. “The C Above C Above High C,” goes well beyond the topic of racism and desegregation; providing an insightful look into other forms of discrimination and political corruption. Although racism was a significant issue, sexism and gender discrimination is of equal importance, and created many problems for women during the 1950’s. Gloria is introduced in Act one, a black woman of about forty, smartly dressed and groomed (276). Gloria made up a small percentage of working women in America during the 1950’s and although she worked as well-dressed successful business women, she most likely held this position because of Armstrong. Regardless of Gloria’s position, Reed’s intent was to show the lack of respect men had for women in the work place. Armstrong had little respect for Gloria. Armstrong pauses, then speaks angrily, “Answer me.” “Don’t you hear me talking to you woman?” (278). Gloria appears to be unaffected by Armstrong’s comments. Moreover, Reed shows how both characters are comfortable with the exchange, which is indicative of fixed gender roles and how men routinely treated woman in the 50’s. Reed portrays Armstrong’s wife Lucille as the domesticated housewife patiently waiting
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