“the Modern Academy Raging in the Dark” Essay

968 Words Aug 23rd, 2012 4 Pages
Summary of “The Modern Academy Raging In The Dark” by Richard Badenhausen In David Mamet’s Oleanna, the inclusion of the controversial topics of gender conflict, sexual harassment and political correctness in colleges led most critics to point to these as the main themes of the play. A year before it the play appeared, the Clarence Thomas-Hill controversy had occurred, helping push these issues in the play to the forefront of reader’s minds. However, the “difficulties of acquiring and controlling language, particularly in the specialized environment of the academy” and the lack of understanding between the two characters as a result show to be the underlying focuses of this play. Though not an exciting conclusion for most readers, …show more content…
Contradictions in his speech occur often. He says he is not her father and then later states that he is “talking to [her] as [he’d] talk to a son.” John tells her of his love for teaching and his students but also disregards his class and the textbook as things of little consequence. Instead of addressing the issues Carol presents, John suggests she drop the course and later simply offers her a free A: clearly not the actions of a teacher with a student’s educational success in mind. Instead of simplifying his language for Carol’s understanding, John heightens it.
Carol, on the other hand, is not as demonic as some critics would make her out to be. Ironically, “unlike her professor, Carol is a careful reader who improves at that vocation as the play progresses.” Carol tries to keep him on topic and sees his contradictions. Unlike John who is “dishonest from the start,” and static, Carol “is a character who develops quite remarkably in a fairly influential environment that finally determines some her core beliefs.” In Act One, John’s failure to listen to Carol’s “secret,” one she has never told anyone else before, shows the high level of trust she put in him as her professor. When he does not address this issue after the interrupting phone call, “Carol remains burdened and
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