American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

1562 Words Apr 20th, 2013 7 Pages
An American Tragedy
Megan Kerns
October 20, 2011
ECI 430, Paul Harvey Project

John was born May 10, 1838 on a farm outside Baltimore, Maryland. He was the fifth of six surviving children. John enjoyed his childhood, but his father was haunted by alcoholism and spells of madness. His father had often been dismissed as a crazy and drunken actor. Like most children, John aspired to follow in his father’s footsteps; therefore, John blossomed into a performing actor and like his father suffered from an extreme case of alcoholism. Growing up on a farm in Maryland meant that John had been born into a world in which slavery was apart of the accepted order of things. Like
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Some of the doorkeepers and ticket takers recognized John because of his career in acting and former performances at the theater. When he entered the theater, he shook hands with a man, conversed briefly, and then entered the door that led to the parquet and the dress circle. The dress circle was the area in front of the stage intended for actors to stay during the mist of the production. After spending some time watching the play, John made his way back through the hallway and ascended the staircase to the first balcony, located on the same level as the VIP box. Mistaken as an usher, John was welcomed into the box and the door was closed behind him. The box was decorated beautifully; fit for a king.

You may be thinking John “got lucky” and enjoyed the rest of the play from the box located on the first balcony, draped in American flags, and relished in the fine company of the occupants. That is wishful thinking, here’s the rest of the story…

John didn’t accidentally walk into the reserved box. He intended to. He carefully planned his entrance into the theater and into the reserved box carrying a concealed loaded .44-caliber pistol. That night John visited the theater in Washington DC on April 14, 1865 he enacted one of the greatest tragedies in American history. John Wilkes Booth murdered the honored guest for the evening performance, president Abraham Lincoln. Six days earlier, Lt. General Ulysses S.