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movie of Dutchman:

Now let’s compare your reading of Dutchman with what you saw in the film version of Dutchman (the link I posted in the discretion) and note the differences. Write a 250-350 word response that incorporates the following elements in your comparison:
● Character – What struck you about the performances of Clay and Lula that was different from how you imagined them while reading the play? You can also consider such aspects as the costumes they wore and even their physical appearances.
● Setting – How is the setting of the subway car in the movie different from how you imagined it while reading the play? Did you expect it to be more modern, grungier?
● Imagery – What were some symbols or images in the movie version of Dutchman that you didn’t pick-up on from just reading the play?
● How has seeing the film production changed your view of Baraka’s play?

Dutchman
 Amiri
Baraka


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Distinctions And Differences
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1964


CHARACTERS

 CLAY,
twenty‐year‐old
Negro

 LULA,
thirty‐year‐old
white
woman

 RIDERS
OF
COACH,
white
and
black
YOUNG
NEGRO



CONDUCTOR

 
 
 In
the
flying
underbelly
of
the
city
Steaming
hot,
and
summer
on
top,
outside.
Underground.
The
subway
heaped
 in
modern
myth.

 
 Opening
scene
is
a
man
sitting
in
a
subway
seat,
holding
a
magazine
but
looking
vacantly
just
above
its
wilting
 pages.
 Occasionally
 he
 looks
 blankly
 toward
 the
 window
 on
 his
 right.
 Dim
 lights
 and
 darkness
 whistling
 by
 against
the
glass.
(Or
paste
the
lights,
as
admitted
props,
right
on
the
subway
windows.
Have
them
move,
even
 dim
and
flicker.
But
give
the
sense
of
speed.
Also
stations,
whether
the
train
is
stopped
or
the
glitter
and
activity
 of
these
stations
merely
flashes
by
the
windows.)

 
 The
man
is
sitting
alone.
That
is,
only
his
seat
is
visible,
though
the
rest
of
the
car
is
outfitted
as
a
complete
 subway
car.
But
only
his
seat
is
shown.
There
might
be,
for
a
time,
as
the
play
begins,
a
loud
scream
of
the
actual
 train.
And
it
can
recur
throughout
the
play,
or
continue
on
a
lower
key
once
the
dialogue
starts.

 
 The
train
slaws
after
a
time,
pulling
to
a
brief
stop
at
one
of
the
stations.
The
man
looks
idly
up,
until
he
sees
a
 woman’s
face
staring
at
him
through
the
window;
when
it
realizes
that
the
man
has
noticed
the
face,
it
begins
 very
premeditatedly
to
smile.
The
man
smiles
too,
for
a
moment,
without
a
trace
of
self­consciousness.
Almost
an
 instinctive
though
undesirable
response.
Then
a
kind
of
awkwardness
or
embarrassment
sets
in,
and
the
man
 makes
to
look
away,
is
further
embarrassed,
so
he
brings
back
his
eyes
to
where
the
face
was,
but
by
naw
the
 train
is
moving
again,
and
the
face
would
seem
to
be
left
behind
by
the
way
the
man
turns
his
head
to
look
back
 through
the
other
windows
at
the
slowly
fading
platform.
He
smiles
then;
more
comfortably
confident,
hoping
 perhaps
that
his
memory
of
this
brief
encounter
will
be
pleasant.
And
then
he
is
idle
again.

 


Scene
I
 


Train
roars.
Lights
flash
outside
the
windows.

 LULA
enters
from
the
rear
of
the
car
in
bright,
skimpy
summer
clothes
and
sandals.
She
carries
a
net
bag
 full
of
paper
books,
fruit,
and
other
anonymous
articles.
She
is
wearing
sunglasses,
which
she
pushes
up
on
 her
 forehead
 from
 time
 to
 time.
 LULA
 is
 a
 tall,
 slender,
 beautiful
 woman
 with
 long
 red
 hair
 hanging
 straight
down
her
back,
wearing
only
loud
lipstick
in
some
body’s
good
taste.
She
is
eating
an
apple,
very
 daintily.
Coming
down
the
car
toward
CLAY.
She
stops
beside
CLAY’S
seat
and
hangs
languidly
from
the
 strap,
still
managing
to
eat
the
apple.
It
is
apparent
that
she
is
going
to
sit
in
the
seat
next
to
CLAY,
and
 that
she
is
only
waiting
for
him
to
notice
her
before
she
sits.



CLAY
sits
as
before,
looking
just
beyond
his
magazine,
now
and
again
pulling
the
magazine
slowly
back
and
 forth
in
front
of
his
face
in
a
hopeless
effort
to
fan
himself.
Then
he
sees
the
woman
hanging
there
beside
 him
and
he
looks
up
into
her
face,
smiling
quizzically.



LULA
Hello.

 CLAY
Uh,
hi’re
you?



LULA
I’m
going
to
sit
down
….
O.K.?

 CLAY
Sure.

 LULA
[Swings
down
onto
the
seat,
pushing
’her
legs
straight
out
as
if
she
is
very
weary]
Oooof!
Too
much


weight.

 CLAY
Ha,
doesn’t
look
like
much
to
me.
[Leaning
back
against
the
window,
a
little
surprised
and
maybe
stiff]

 LULA
It’s
so
anyway.
[And
she
moves
her
toes
in
the
sandals,
then
pulls
her
right
leg
up
on
the
left
knee,
better
to


inspect
the
bottoms
of
the
sandals
and
the
back
of
her
heel.
She
appears
for
a
second
not
to
notice
that
 CLAY
is
sitting
next
to
her
or
that
she
has
spoken
to
him
just
a
second
before.
CLAY
looks
at
the
magazine,
 then
out
the
black
window.
As
he
does
this,
she
turns
very
quickly
toward
him]
Weren’t
you
staring
at
me
 through
the
window?



CLAY
[Wheeling
around
and
very
much
stiffened]
What?

 LULA
Weren’t
you
staring
at
me
through
the
window?
At
the
last
stop?

 CLAY
Staring
at
you?
What
do
you
mean?

 LULA
Don’t
you
know
what
staring
means?

 CLAY
I
saw
you
through
the
window
…
if
that’s
what
it
means.
I
don’t
know
if
I
was
staring.
Seems
to
me
you


were
staring
through
the
window
at
me.

 LULA
I
was.
But
only
after
I’d
turned
around
and
saw
you
staring
through
that
window
down
in
the
vicinity
of


my
ass
and
legs.

 CLAY
Really?

 LULA
Really.
I
guess
you
were
just
taking
those
idle
potshots.
Nothing
else
to
do.
Run
your
mind
over
people’s


flesh.

 CLAY
Oh
boy.
Wow,
now
I
admit
I
was
looking
in
your
direction.
But
the
rest
of
that
weight
is
yours.

 LULA
I
suppose.

 CLAY
Staring
through
train
windows
is
weird
business.
Much
weirder
than
staring
very
sedately
at
abstract


asses.

 LULA
That’s
why
I
came
looking
through
the
window
…
so
you’d
have
more
than
that
to
go
on.
I
even
smiled


at
you.

 CLAY
That’s
right.

 LULA
I
even
got
into
this
train,
going
some
other
way
than
mine.
Walked
down
the
aisle
…
searching
you
out.

 CLAY
Really?
That’s
pretty
funny.

 LULA
That’s
pretty
funny:”
..
:
.
God,
you’re
dull.

 CLAY
Well,
I’m
sorry,
lady,
but
I
really
wasn’t
prepared
for
party
talk.

 LULA
No,
you’re
not.
What
are
you
prepared
for?
[Wrapping
the
apple
core
in
a
Kleenex
and
dropping
it
on
the


floor]

 CLAY
[Takes
her
conversation
as
pure
sex
talk.
He
turns
to
confront
her
squarely
with
this
idea]
I’m
prepared
for


anything.
How
about
you?

 LULA
[Laughing
loudly
and
cutting
it
off
abruptly]
What
do
you
think
you’re
doing?

 CLAY
What?

 LULA
You
think
I
want
to
pick
you
up,
get
you
to
take
me
somewhere
and
screw
me,
huh?

 CLAY
Is
that
the
way
I
look?

 LULA
You
look
like
you
been
trying
to
grow
a
beard.
That’s
exactly
what
you
look
like.
You
look
like
you
live


in
New
Jersey
with
your
parents
and
are
trying
to
grow
a
beard.
That’s
what.
You
look
like
you’ve
been
 reading
Chinese
poetry
and
drinking
lukewarm
sugarless
tea.
[Laughs,
uncrossing
and
recrossing
her
 legs]
You
look
like
death
eating
a
soda
cracker.



CLAY
[Cocking
his
head
from
one
side
to
the
other,
embarrassed
and
trying
to
make
some
comeback,
but
also
 intrigued
by
what
the
woman
is
saying
..
even
the
sharp
city
coarseness
of
her
voice,
which
is
still
a
kind
of
 gentle
sidewalk
throb]
Really?
I
look
like
all
that?



LULA
Not
all
of
it.
[She
feints
a
seriousness
to
cover
an
actual
somber
tone]
I
lie
a
lot.
[Smiling]
It
helps
me
 control
the
world.



CLAY
[Relieved
and
laughing
louder
than
the
humor]
Yeah,
I
bet.

 LULA
But
it’s
true,
most
of
it,
right?
Jersey?
Your
bumpy
neck?

 CLAY
How’d
you
know
all
that?
Huh?
Really,
I
mean
about
Jersey
…
and
even
the
beard.
I
met
you
before?
You


know
Warren
Enright?

 LULA
You
tried
to
make
it
with
your
sister
when
you
were
ten.
[CLAY
leans
back
hard
against
the
back
of
the


seat,
his
eyes
opening
now,
still
trying
to
look
amused]
But
I
succeeded
a
few
weeks
ago.
[She
starts
to


laugh
again]
CLAY
What’re
you
talking
about?
Warren
tell
you
that?
You’re
a
friend
of

 Georgia’s?

 LULA
I
told
you
I
lie.
I
don’t
know
your
sister.
I
don’t
know
Warren
Enright.

 CLAY
You
mean
you’re
just
picking
these
things
out
of
the
air?

 LULA
Is
Warren
Enright
a
tall
skinny
black
black
boy
with
a
phony
English
accent?

 CLAY
I
figured
you
knew
him.

 LULA
But
I
don’t.
I
just
figured
you
would
know
somebody
like
that.
[Laughs]

 CLAY
Yeah,
yeah.

 LULA
You’re
probably
on
your
way
to
his
house
now.

 CLAY
That’s
right.

 LULA
[Putting
her
hand
on
CLAY’S
closest
knee,
drawing
it
from
the
knee
up
to
the
thigh’s
hinge,
then
removing


it,
watching
his
face
very
closely,
and
continuing
to
laugh,
perhaps
more
gently
than
before]
Dull,
dull,
dull.
 I
bet
you
think
I’m
exciting.



CLAY
You’re
O.K.

 LULA
Am
I
exciting
you
now?

 CLAY
Right.
That’s
not
what’s
supposed
to
happen?

 LULA
How
do
I
know?
[She
returns
her
hand,
without
moving
it,
then
takes
it
away
and
plunges
it
in
her
bag
to


draw
out
an
apple]
You
want
this?

 CLAY
Sure.

 LULA
[She
gets
one
out
of
the
bag
for
herself]
Eating
apples
together
is
always
the
first
step.
Or
walking
up


uninhabited
Seventh
Avenue
in
the
twenties2
on
weekends.
[Bites
and
giggles,
glancing
at
Clay
and
 speaking
in
loose
sing­song]
Can
get
you
involved
…
boy!
Get
us
involved.
Um‐huh.
[Mock
seriousness]
 Would
you
like
to
get
involved
with
me,
Mister
Man?



CLAY
[Trying
to
be
as
flippant
as
LULA,
whacking
happily
at
the
apple]
Sure.
Why
not?
A
beautiful
woman
 like
you.
Huh,
I’d
be
a
fool
not
to.



LULA
And
I
bet
you’re
sure
you
know
what
you’re
talking
about.
[Taking
him
a
little
roughly
by
the
wrist,
so
he
 cannot
eat
the
apple,
then
shaking
the
wrist]
I
bet
you’re
sure
of
almost
everything
anybody
ever
asked
 you
about
…
right?
[Shakes
his
wrist
harder]
Right?



CLAY
Yeah,
right.
…
Wow,
you’re
pretty
strong,
you
know?
Whatta
you,
a
lady
wrestler
or
something?

 LULA
What’s
wrong
with
lady
wrestlers?
And
don’t
answer
because
you
never
knew
any.
Huh.
[Cynically]


That’s
for
sure.
They
don’t
have
any
lady
wrestlers
in
that
part
of
Jersey.
That’s
for
sure.

 CLAY
Hey,
you
still
haven’t
told
me
how
you
know
so
much
about
me.

 LULA
I
told
you
I
didn’t
know
anything
about
you
…
you’re
a
well‐known
type.

 CLAY
Really?

 LULA
Or
at
least
I
know
the
type
very
well.
And
your
skinny
English
friend
too.

 CLAY
Anonymously?

 LULA
[Settles
back
in
seat,
single­mindedly
finishing
her
apple
and
humming
snatches
of
rhythm
and
blues


song]
What?

 CLAY
Without
knowing
us
specifically?

 LULA
Oh
boy.
[Looking
quickly
at
CLAY]
What
a
face.
You
know,
you
could
be
a
handsome
man.

 CLAY
I
can’t
argue
with
you.

 LULA
[Vague,
off­center
response]
What?

 CLAY
[Raising
his
voice,
thinking
the
train
noise
has
drowned
part
of
his
sentence]
I
can’t
argue
with
you
.

 LULA
My
hair
is
turning
gray.
A
gray
hair
for
each
year
and
type
I’ve
come
through.

 CLAY
Why
do
you
want
to
sound
so
old?

 LULA
But
it’s
always
gentle
when
it
starts.
[Attention
drifting]
Hugged
against
tenements,
day
or
night.

 CLAY
What?

 LULA
[Refocusing]
Hey,
why
don’t
you
take
me
to
that
party
you’re
going
to?

 CLAY
You
must
be
a
friend
of
Warren’s
to
know
about
the
party.

 LULA
Wouldn’t
you
like
to
take
me
to
the
party?
[Imitates
clinging
vine]
.
Oh,
come
on,
ask
me
to
your
party.

 CLAY
Of
course
I’ll
ask
you
to
come
with
me
to
the
party.
And
I’ll
bet
you’re
a
friend
of
Warren’s.

 LULA
Why
not
be
a
friend
of
Warren’s?
Why
not?
[Taking
his
arm]
Have
you
asked
me
yet?

 CLAY
How
can
I
ask
you
when
I
don’t
know
your
name?

 LULA
Are
you
talking
to
my
name?

 CLAY
What
is
it,
a
secret?



LULA
I’m
Lena
the
Hyena.

 CLAY
The
famous
woman
poet?

 LULA
Poetess!
The
same!

 CLAY
Well,
you
know
so
much
about
me
…
what’s
my
name?

 LULA
Morris
the
Hyena.

 CLAY
The
famous
woman
poet?

 LULA
The
same.
[Laughing
and
going
into
her
bag]
You
want
another
apple?

 CLAY
Can’t
make
it,
lady.
I
only
have
to
keep
one
doctor
away
a
day.

 LULA
I
bet
your
name
is
…
something
like
…
uh,
Gerald
or
Walter.
Huh?

 CLAY
God,
no.

 LULA
Lloyd,
Norman?
One
of
those
hopeless
colored
names
creeping
out
of
New
Jersey
Leonard?
Gag
….

 CLAY
Like
Warren?

 LULAw
Definitely.
Just
exactly
like
Warren.
Or
Everett.3

 CLAY
Gag
…
·

 LULA
Well,
for
sure,
it’s
not
Willie.

 CLAY

It’s
Clay.
 LULA
Clay?
Really?
Clay
what?

 CLAY
Take
your
pick.
Jackson,
Johnson,
or
Williams.

 LULA
Oh,
really?
Good
for
you.
But
it’s
got
to
be
Williams.
You’re
too
pretentious
to
be
a
Jackson
or
Johnson.
 CLAY
Thass
right.

 LULA
But
Clay’s
O.K.

 CLAY
So’s
Lena.

 LULA
It’s
Lula.
 CLAY
Oh?
 LULA
Lula
the
Hyena.

 CLAY
Very
good.

 LULA
[Starts
laughing
again]
Now
you
say
to
me,
”Lula,
Lula,
why
don’t
you
go
to
this
party
with
me
tonight?”


It’s
your
turn,
and
let
those
be
your
lines.

 CLAY
Lula,
why
don’t
you
go
to
this
party
with
me
tonight,
Huh?

 LULA
Say
my
name
twice
before
you
ask,
and
no
huh’s.

 CLAY
Lula,
Lula,
why
don’t
you
go
to
this
party
with
me
tonight?

 LULA
I’d
like
to
go,
Clay,
but
how
can
you
ask
me
to
go
when
you
barely
know
me?

 CLAY
That
is
strange,
isn’t
it?

 LULA
What
kind
of
reaction
is
that?
You’re
supposed
to
say,
”Aw,
come
on,
we’ll
get
to
know
each
other
better


at
the
party.”

 CLAY
That’s
pretty
corny.

 LULA
What
are
you
into
anyway?
[Looking
at
him
half
sullenly
but
still
amused]
What
thing
are
you
playing
at,


Mister?
Mister
Clay
Williams?
[Grabs
his
thigh,
up
near
the
crotch]
What
are
you
thinking
about?

 CLAY
Watch
it
now,
you’re
gonna
excite
me
for
real.

 LULA
[Taking
her
hand
away
and
throwing
her
apple
core
through
the
window]
I
bet.
[She
slumps
in
the
seat


and
is
heavily
silent]

 CLAY
I
thought
you
knew
everything
about
me?
What
happened?
[LULA
looks
at
him,
then
looks
slowly
away,


then
over
where.
the
other
aisle
would
be.
Noise
of
the
train.
She
reaches
in
her
bag
and
pulls
out
one
of
the
 paper
books.
She
puts
it
on
her
leg
and
thumbs
the
pages
listlessly.
CLAY
cocks
his
head
to
see
the
title
of
 the
book.
Noise
of
the
train.
LULA
flips
pages
and
her
eyes
drift.
Both
remain
silent]
Are
you
going
to
the
 party
with
me,
Lula?

 .



LULA
[Bored
and
not
even
looking]
I
don’t
even
know
you.
.
 CLAY
You
said
you
know
my
type.

 LULA
[Strangely
irritated]
Don’t
get
smart
with
me,
Buster.
I
know
you
like
the
palm
of
my
hand.

 CLAY
The
one
you
eat
the
apples
with?

 LULA
Yeh.
And
the
one
I
open
doors
late
Saturday
evening
with.
That’s
my
door.
Up
at
the
top
of
the
stairs.


Five
flights.
Above
a
lot
of
Italians
.
and
lying
Americans.
And
scrape
carrots
with:
Also.
[Looks
at
him]
 the
same
hand
I
unbutton
my
dress
with,
or
let
my
skirt
fall
down.
Same
hand.
Lover.



CLAY
Are
you
angry
about
anything?
Did
I
say
something
wrong?

 LULA
Everything
you
say
is
wrong.
[Mock
smile]
That’s
what
makes
you
so
attractive.
Ha.
In
that
funnybook


jacket
with
all
the
buttons.
[More
animate,
taking
hold
of
his
jacket]
What’ve
you
got
that
jacket
and
tie
 on
in
all
this
heat
for?
And
why’re
you
wearing
a
jacket
and
tie
like
that?
Did
your
people
ever
burn
 witches
or
start
 revolutions
over
 the
price
of
 tea?
Boy,
 those
narrow‐shoulder
clothes
come
 from
a
 tradition
you
ought
to
feel
oppressed
by.
A
three‐button
suit.
What
right
do
you
have
to
be
wearing
a
 three‐button
suit
and
striped
tie?
Your
grandfather
was
a
slave,
he
didn’t
go
to
Harvard.



CLAY
My
grandfather
was
a
night
watchman.

 ~

 LULA
And
you
went
to
a
colored
college
where
everybody
thought
they
were
Averell
Harriman.
 CLAY
All
except
me.

 LULA
And
who
did
you
think
you
were?
Who
do
you
think
you
are
now?

 CLAY
 [Laughs
as
 if
 to
make
 light
of
 the
whole
 trend
of
 the
 conversation]
Well,
 in
 college
 I
 thought
 I
was


Baudelaire.
But
I’ve
slowed
down
since.

 LULA
I
bet
you
never
once
thought
you
were
a
black
nigger.
[Mock
serious,
then
she
howls
with
laughter.
CLAY


is
stunned
but
after
initial
reaction,
he
quickly
tries
to
appreciate
the
humor.
LULA
almost
shrieks]
A
black
 Baudelaire.



CLAY
That’s
right.

 LULA
Boy,
are
you
corny.
I
take
back
what
I
said
before.
everything
you
say
is
not
wrong.
It’s
perfect.
You


should
be
on
television.

 CLAY
You
act
like
you’re
on
television
already.

 LULA
That’s
because
I’m
an
actress
.

 CLAY
I
thought
so.

 LULA
Well,
you’re
wrong.
I’m
no
actress.
I
told
you
I
always
lie.
I’m
nothing,
honey,
and
don’t
you
ever
forget


it.
[Lighter]
Although
my
mother
was
a
Communist.
The
only
person
in
my
family
ever
to
amount
to
 anything.



CLAY
My
mother
was
a
Republican.

 LULA
And
your
father
voted
for
the
man
rather
than
the
party.

 CLAY
Right!

 LULA
Yea
for
him.
Yea,
yea
for
him.

 CLAY
Yea!

 LULA
And
yea
for
America
where
he
is
free
to
vote
for
the
mediocrity
of
his
choice!
Yea!

 CLAY
Yea!

 LULA
And
yea
for
both
your
parents
who
even
though
they
differ
about
so
crucial
a
matter
as
the
body
politic


still
forged
a
union
of
love
and
sacrifice
that
was
destined
to
flower
at
the
birth
of
the
noble
Clay
…
 what’s
your
middle
name?



CLAY
Clay.

 LULA
A
union
of
love
and
sacrifice
that
was
destined
to
flower
at
the
birth
of
the
noble
Clay
Clay
Williams.
 Yea!
And
most
of
all
yea
yea
for
you,
Clay,
Clay.
The
Black
Baudelaire!
Yes!
[And
with
knifelike
cynicism]
My
 Christ.
My
Christ.

 CLAY
Thank
you,
ma’am.
 LULA

The
people
accept
you
as
a
ghost
of
the
future.
And
love
you,
that
you
might
not
kill
them
when
you


can.

 CLAY
What?
 LULA
You’re
a
murderer,
Clay,
and
you
know
it.
[Her
voice
darkening
with
significance]
You
know
goddamn


well
what
I
mean.
 CLAY
I
do?
 LULA
So
we’ll
pretend
the
air
is
light
and
full
of
perfume.
 CLAY
[Sniffing
at
her
blouse]

It
is.
 LULA
And
we’ll
pretend
that
people
cannot
see
you.
That
is,
the
citizens.
And
that
you
are
free
of
your
own


history.
And
I
am
free
of
my
history.
We’ll
pretend
that
we
are
both
anonymous
beauties
smashing
along
 through
the
city’s
entrails
[She
yells
as
loud
as
she
can]
GROOVE!



 [Black]
 


Scene
II


Scene
is
the
same
as
before,
though
now
there
are
other
seats
visible
in
the
car.
And
throughout
the
scene
other
 people
get
on
the
subway.
There
are
maybe
one
or
two
seated
in
the
car
as
the
scene
opens,
though
neither
CLAY
 nor
LULA
notices
them.
CLAY’S
tie
is
open.
LULA
is
hugging
his
arm.

 


CLAY
The
party!

 ‘

 LULA
I
know
it’ll
be
something
good.
You
can
come
in
with
me,
looking
casual
and
significant.
I’ll
be
strange,


haughty,
and
silent,
and
walk
with
long
slow
strides.

 CLAY
Right.

 LULA
.
When
you.
get
drunk,
pat
me
once
very
lovingly
on
the
flanks,
and
I’ll
look
at
you
cryptically
licking
my


lips.
 CLAY
It
sounds
like
something
we
can
do.

 LULA
You’ll
go
around
talking
to
young
men
about
your
mind,
and
to
old
men
about
your
plans:,.
If
you
meet


a
very
close
friend
who
is
also
with
someone
like
me,
we
can
stand
together,
sipping
our
drinks
and
 exchanging
codes
of
lust.
The
atmosphere
will
be
slithering
in
love
and
half‐love
and
very
open
 moral
decision.



CLAY
Great.
Great.

 LULA
And
everyone
will
pretend
they
don’t
know
your
name,
and
then
…
[She
pauses
heavily]
later,
when


they
have
to,
they’ll
claim
a
friendship
that
denies
your
sterling
character.

 CLAY
[Kissing
her
neck
and
fingers]
And
then
what?

 LULA
Then?
Well,
then
we’ll
go
down
the
street,
late
night,
eating
apples
and
winding
very
deliberately


toward
my
house.

 CLAY
Deliberately?

 LULA
I
mean,
we’ll
look
in
all
the
shop
windows,
and
make
fun
of
the
queers.
Maybe
we’ll
meet
a
Jewish


Buddhist
and
flatten
his
conceits
over
some
very
pretentious
coffee.

 CLAY
In
honor
of
whose
God?

 LULA
Mine.

 CLAY
Who
is
…
?

 LULA
Me
…
and
you?

 CLAY
A
corporate
Godhead.

 ,

 LULA
Exactly.
Exactly.
[Notices
one
of
the
other
people
entering]

 CLAY
Go
on
with
the
chronicle.
Then
what
happens
to
us?

 LULA
[A
mild
depression,
but
she
still
makes
her
description
triumphant
and
increasingly
direct]
To
my
house,


of
course.

 CLAY
Of
course.

 LlJLA
And
up
the
narrow
steps
of
the
tenement.

 CLAY
You
live
in
a
tenement?

 LULA
Wouldn’t
live
anywhere
else.
Reminds
me
specifically
of
my
novel
form
of
insanity.

 .
.

 CLAY
Up
the
tenement
stairs.

 LULA
And
with
my
apple‐eating
hand
I
push
open
the
door
and
lead
you,
my
tender
big‐eyed
prey,
into


my
…
God,
what
can
I
call
it
…
into
my
hovel.

 CLAY
Then
what
happens?

 LULA
After
the
dancing
and
games,
after
the
long
drinks
and
long
walks,
the
real
fun
begins.

 CLAY
Ah,
the
real
fun.
[Embarrassed,
in
spite
of
himselfJ
Which
is
…
?
LULA
[Laughs
at
him]
Real
fun
in
the


dark
house.
Hah!
Real
fun
in
the
dark
house,
high
up
above
the
street
and
the
ignorant
cowboys.
I
 lead
you
in,
holding
your
wet
hand
gently
in
my
hand
…



CLAY
Which
is
not
wet?
 LULA
Which
is
dry
as
ashes.

 CLAY
And
cold?

 LULA
Don’t
think
you’ll
get
out
of
your
responsibility
that
way.
It’s
not
cold
at
all.
You
Fascist!
Into
my


dark
living
room.
Where
we’ll
sit
and
talk
endlessly,
endlessly.
 CLAY
About
what?


LULA
About
what?
About
your
manhood,
what
do
you
think?
What
do
you
think
we’ve
been
talking
about
all
 this
time?


CLAY
Well,
I
didn’t
know
it
was
that.
That’s
for
sure.
Every
other
thing
in
the
world
but
that.
[Notices
 another
person
entering,
looks
quickly,
almost
involuntarily
up
and
down
the
car,
seeing
the
other
people
in
 the
car]
Hey,
I
didn’t
even
notice
when
those
people
got


LULA
Yeah,
I
know.

 CLAY
Man,
this
subway
is
slow.

 LULA
Yeah,
I
know.

 CLAY
Well,
go
on.
We
were
talking
about
my
manhood.

 LULA
We
still
are.
All
the
time.
 CLAY
We
were
in
your
living
room.

 LULA
My
dark
living
room.
Talking
endlessly.

 CLAY
About
my
manhood.
.

 LULA
I’ll
make
you
a
map
of
it.
Just
as
soon
as
we
get
to
my
house.

 CLAY
Well,
that’s
great.

 LULA
One
of
the
things
we
do
while
we
talk.
And
screw.

 CLAY
[Trying
to
make
his
smile
broader
and
less
shaky]’
We
finally
got
there.

 LULA
And
you’ll
call
my
rooms
black
as
a
grave.
You’ll
say,
”This
place
is
like
Juliet’s
tomb.
 CLAY
[Laughs]
I
might.

 LULA
I
know.
You’ve
probably
said
it
before.

 CLAY
And
is
that
all?
The
whole
grand
tour?

 LULA
Not
all.
You’ll
say
to
me
very
close
to
my
face,
many
many
times,
you’ll
say,
even
whisper,
that
you
love


me.

 CLAY
Maybe
I
will.

 LULA
And
you’ll
be
lying.

 CLAY
I
wouldn’t
lie
about
something
like
that.

 LULA
Hah.
It’s
the
only
kind
of
thing
you
will
lie
about.
Especially
if
you
think
it’ll
keep
me
alive.

 CLAY
Keep
you
alive?
I
don’t
understand.

 
 .
'<‘”

 LULA
[Bursting
out
laughing,
but
too
shrill]
Don’t
understand?
Well,
don’t
look
at
me.
It’s
the
path
I
take,
that’s


all.
Where
both
feet
take
me
when
I
set
them
down.
One
in
front
of
the
other.

 CLAY
Morbid.
Morbid.
You
sure
you’re
not
an
actress?
All
that
self‐aggrandizement.

 LULA
Well,
I
told
you
I
wasn’t
an
actress
…
but
I
also
told
you
I
lie
all
the
time.
Draw
your
own
conclusions.

 CLAY
Morbid.
Morbid.
You
sure
you’re
not
an
actress?
All
scribed?
There’s
no
more?

 LULA
I’ve
told
you
all
I
know.
Or
almost
all.

 CLAY
There’s
no
funny
parts?

 LULA
I
thought
it
was
all
funny.

 CLAY
But
you
mean
peculiar,
not
ha‐ha.

 LULA
You
don’t
know
what
I
mean.

 CLAY
Well,
tell
me
the
almost
part
then.
You
said
almost
all.
What
else?
I
want
the
whole
story.

 .

 LULA
[Searching
aimlessly
through
her
bag.
She
begins
to
talk
breathlessly,
with
a
light
and
silly
tone]
All


stories
are
whole
stories.
All
of
’em.
Our
whole
story
…
nothing
but
change.
How
could
things
go
on
like
 that
forever?
Huh?
[Slaps
him
on
the
shoulder,
begins
finding
things
in
her

bag,
taking
them
out
and
 throwing
them
over
her
shoulder
into
the
aisle]
Except
I
do
go
on
as
I
do.
Apples
and
long
walks
with
 deathless
intelligent
lovers.
But
you
mix
it
up.
Look
out
the
window,
all
the
time.
Turning
pages.
Change
 change
change.
Till,
shit,
I
don’t
know
you.
Wouldn’t,
for
that
matter.
You’re
too
serious.
I
bet
you’re
 even
too
serious
to
be
psychoanalyzed.
Like
all
those
Jewish
poets
from
Yonkers,
who
leave
their
 mothers
looking
for
other
mothers,
or
others’
mothers,
on
whose
baggy
tits
they
lay
their
fumbling
 heads.
Their
poems
are
always
funny,
and
all
about
sex.



CLAY
They
sound
great.
Like
movies.

 LULA
But
you
change.
[Blankly]
And
things
work
on
you
till
you
hate
them.
[More
people
come
into
the


train.
They
come
closer
to
the
couple,
some
of
them
not
sitting,
but
swinging
drearily
on
the
straps,
staring
 at
the
two
with
uncertain
interest]



CLAY
Wow.
All
these
people,
so
suddenly.
They
must
all
come
from
the
same
place.

 LULA
Right.
That
they
do.

 CLAY
Oh?
You
know
about
them
too?



yeah.
About
them
more
than
I
know
about
you.
Do
they
frighten
you?

 CLAY
Frighten
me?
Why
should
they
frighten
me?

 LULA
’Cause
you’re
an
escaped
nigger.

 CLAY
Yeah?

 LULA
’Cause
you
crawled
through
the
wire
and
made
tracks
to
my
side.

 CLAY
Wire?

 LULA
Don’t
they
have
wire
around
plantations?

 CLAY
You
must
be
Jewish.
All
you
can
think
about
is
wire.
Plantations
didn’t
have
any
wire.
Plantations


were
big
open
whitewashed
places
like
heaven,
and
everybody
on
’em
was
grooved
to
be
there.
Just
 strummin’
and
hummin’
all
day.


LULA
Yes,
yes.

 CLAY
And
that’s
how
the
blues
was
born.

 LULA
Yes,
yes.
And
that’s
how
the
blues
was
born.
[Begins
to
make
up
a
song
that
becomes
quickly


hysterical.
As
she
sings
she
rises
from
her
seat,
still
throwing
things
out
of
her
bag
into
the
aisle,
beginning
a
 rhythmical
shudder
and
twistlike
wiggle,
which
she
continues
up
and
down
the
aisle,
bumping
into
many
of
 the
standing
people
and
tripping
over
the
feet
of
those
sitting.
Each
time
she
runs
into
a
person
she
lets
out
 a
very
vicious
piece
of
profanity,
wiggling
and
stepping
all
the
time]
And
that’s
how
the
blues
was
born.
 Yes.
Yes.
Son
of
a
bitch,
get
out
of
the
way.
Yes.
Quack.
Yes.
Yes.
And
that’s
how
the
blues
was
born.
 Ten
little
niggers
sitting
on
a
limb,
but
none
of
them
ever
looked
like
him.
[Points
to
CLAY,
returns
 toward
the
seat,
with
her
hands
extended
for
him
to
rise
and
dance
with
her]
And
that’s
how
blues
was
 born.
Yes.
Come
on,
Clay.
Let’s
do
the
nasty.
Rub
bellies.
Rub
bellies.

 .



CLAY
[Waves
his
hands
to
refuse.
He
is
embarrassed,
but
determined
to
get
a
kick
out
of
the
proceedings]
Hey,
 what
was
in
those
apples?
Mirror,
mirror
on
the
wall”,
who’s
the
fairest
one
of
all?
Snow
White,
 baby,
and
don’t
you
forget
it.


LULA
[Grabbingfor
his
hands,
which
he
draws
away]
Come
on,
Clay.
Let’s
rub
bellies
on
the
train.
The
nasty.
 The
nasty.
Do
the
gritty
grind,
like
your
old
rag‐head
mammy.
Grind
till
you
lose
your
mind.
Shake
 it,
shake
it,
shake
it,
shake
it!
OOOOweeee!
Come
on,
Clay.
Let’s
do
the
choo‐choo
train
shuffle,
the
 navel
scratcher.



CLAY
Hey,
you
coming
on
like
the
lady
who
smoked
up
her
grass
skirt.

 QULA
[Becoming
annoyed
that
he
will
not
dance,
and
becoming
more
animated
as
if
to
embarrass
him
still


further]
Come
on,
Clay
…
let’s
do
the
thing.
Uhh!
Uhh!
Clay!
Clay!
You
middle‐class
black
bastard.
Forget
 your
social‐working
mother
for
a
few
seconds
and
let’s
knock
stomachs.
Clay,
you
liver‐lipped
white
 man.
You
would‐be
Christian.
You
ain’t
no
nigger,
you’re
just
a
dirty
white
man.
Get
up,
Clay.
Dance
with
 me,
Clay)



CLAY
Lula!
Sit
down,
now.
Be
cool.

 LULA
[Mocking
him,
in
wild
dance]
Be
cool.
Be
cool.
That’s
all
you
know
…
shaking
that
wildroot
cream‐oil
on


your
knotty
head,
jackets
buttoning
up
to
your
chin,
so
full
of
white
man’s
words
Christ,
God,
Get
up’
,
 and
scream
at
these
people.
Like
scream
meaningless
shit
in
these
hopeless
faces.
[She
screams
at
people
 in
train,
still
dancing}
Red
trains
cough
Jewish
underwear
for
keeps!
Expanding
smells
of
silence.
Gravy
 snot
whistling
like
sea
birds.
Clay.
Clay,
you
got
to
break
out.
Don’t
sit
there
dying
the
way
they
want
you
 to
die.
Getup.


CLAY
Oh,
sit
the
fuck
own.
He
moves
to
restrain
her]
Sit
down,
goddamn
it.

 LULA
[Twisting
out
of
his
reach]
Screw
yourself,
Uncle
Tom.’
Thomas
Woolly‐Head.
[Begins
to
dance
a
kind
of


jig,
mocking
CLAY
with
loudJ~r~ed
humor]
There
is
Uncle
Tom
…
I
mean,
Uncle
Thomas
Woolly‐Head.
 With
old
white
matted
mane.
He
hobbles
on
his
wooden
cane.
Old
Tom.
Old
Tom.
Let
the
white
man
 hump
his
0I’
mama,
and
he
jes’
shuffle
off
in
the
woods
and
hide
his
gentle
gray
head.
0I’
Thomas
Woolly‐ Head.
[Some
of
the
other
riders
are
laughing
naw.
A
DRUNK
gets
up
and
joins
LULA
in
her
dance,
singing,
 as
best
he
can,
her
”song.”
CLAY
gets
up
out
of
his
seat
and
visibly
scans
the
faces
of
the
other
riders]



CLAY
Lula!
Lula!
[She
is
dancing’and
turning,
still
shouting
as
loud
as
she
can.
The
DRUNK
too
is
shouting,
and
 waving
his
hands
wildly]
Lula
…
you
dumb
bitch.
Why
don’t
you
stop
it?
[He
rushes
half
stumbling
from
his
 seat,
and
grabs
one
of
her
flailing
arms]



LULA
Let
me
go!
You
black
son
of
a
bitch.
[She
struggles
against
him]
Let
me
got
Help!
[CLAY
is
dragging
her
 towards
her
seat,
and
the
DRUNK
seeks
to
interfere.
He
grabs
CLAY
around
the
shoulders
and
begins
 wrestling
with
him.
CLAY
clubs
the
drunk
to
the
floor
without
releasing
LULA,
who
is
still
screaming.
CLAY
 finally
gets
her
to
the
seat
and
throws
her
into
it]



CLAY
Now
you
shut
the
hell
up.
[Grabbing
her
shoulders}
Just
shut
up.
You
don’t
know
what
you’re
talking
 about.
You
don’t
know
anything.
So
just
keep
your
stupid
mouth
closed.



LULA
You’re
afraid
of
white
people.
And
your
father
was.
Uncle
Tom
Big
Lip!

 CLAY
[Slaps
her
as
hard
as
he
can,
across
the
mouth.
e
back
of
the
seat.
LULA’s
head
bangs
against
the
back
of


the
seat.
When
she
raises
it
again.
CLAY
slaps
her
again]
Now
shut
up
and
let
me
talk
[He
turns
toward
the
 other
riders,
some
of
whom
are
sitting
on
the
edge
of
their
seats.
The
DRUNK
is
one
one
knee,
rubbing
his
 head,
and
singing
softly
the
same
song.
He
shuts
up
too
when
he
sees
CLAY
watching
him.
The
others
go
 back
to
newspapers
or
stare
out
the
windows.]
Shit,
you
don’t
have
any
sense,
Lula,
nor
feelings
either.
 I
could
murder
you
now.
Such
a
tiny
ugly
throat.
I
could
squeeze
it
flat,
and,
watch
you
turn
blue,
on
 a
humble.
For
dull
kicks.
And
all
these
weak‐faced
ofays
squatting
around
here,
staring
over
their
 papers
at
me.
Murder
them
too.
Even
if
they
expected
it.
That
man
there
…
[Points
to
a
WELL‐ DRESSED
MAN]
I
could
rip
that
Times
right
out
of
his
hand,
as
skinny
and
middle‐classed
as
I
am,
I
 could
rip
that
paper
out
of
his
hand
and
just
as
easily
rip
out
his
throat.
It
takes
no
great
effort:
For
 what?
To
kill
you
soft
idiots?
You
don’t
understand
anything
but
luxury.


LULA
You
fool!

 CLAY
[Pushing
her
against
the
seat]
I’m
not
telling
you
again,
Tallulah
Bankhead!
Luxury.
In
your
face
and


your
fingers.
You
telling
me
what
I
ought
to
do.
[Sudden
scream
frightening
the
whole
coach]
Well,
 don’t!
Don’t
you
tell
me
anything!
If
I’m
a
middle‐class
fake
white
man
…
let
me
be.
And
let
me
be
in
 the
way
I
want.
[Through
his
teeth]
I’ll
rip
your
lousy
breasts
off!
Let
me
be
who
I
feel
like
being.
 Uncle
Tom.
Thomas.
Whoever.
It’s
none
of
your
business
(You
don’t
know
anything
except
what’s
 there
for
you
to
see.
An
act.
Lies.
Device.
Not
the
pure
heart,
the
pumping
black
heart.
You
don’t
 ever
know
that.
And
I
sit
here
in
this
buttoned‐up
suit
to
keep
myself
from
cutting
all
your
throats.
I
 mean
wantonly.
You
great
liberated
whore!
You
fuck
some
black
man,
and
right
away
you’re
an
 expert
on
black
people.
What
a
lotta
shit
that
is.
The
only
thing
you
know
is
that
you
come
if
he
 bangs
you
hard
enough.
And
that’s
all.
The
belly
rub?
You
wanted
to
do
the
belly
rub?
Shit,
you
 don’t
even
know
how.
You
don’t
know
how.
That
ol’
dipty‐dip
shit
you
do,
rolling
your
ass
like
an
 elephant.
That’s
not
my
kind
of
belly
rub.
Belly
rub
is
not
Queens.
Belly
rub
is
dark
places
with
big
 hats
and
overcoats
held
up
with
one
arm.
Belly
rub
hates
you…
Old
bald‐headed
four‐eyed
ofays
 popping
their
fingers
…
and
don’t
know
yet
what
they’re
doing.
They
say,
”I
love
Bessie
Smith
and
 don’t
even
understand
that
Bessie
Smith
is
saying,
”Kiss
my
ass,
kiss
my
black
unruly
ass.”
Before
 love,
suffering,
desire,
anything
you
can
explain,
she’s
saying,
and
very
plainly,
”Kiss
my
black
ass.”
 And
if
you
don’t
know
that,
it’s
you
that’s
doing
the
kissing.



 (Charlie
Parker?l
Charlie
Parker.
All
the
hip
white
boys
scream
for
Bird.
And
Bird
saying,
”Up
your
 ass,
feeble‐minded
ofay!
Up
your
ass.”
And
they
sit
there
talking
about
the
tortured
genius
of
 Charlie
Parker.
Bird
would’ve
played
not
a
note
of
music
if
he
just
walked
up
to
East
Sixty‐seventh
 Street
and
killed
the
first
ten
white
people
he
saw.
Not
a
note!
And
I’m
the
great
would‐be
poet.
Yes.
 That’s
right!
Poet.
Some
kind
of
bastard
literature
…
all
it
needs
is
a
simple
knife
thrust.
Just
let
me
 bleed
you,
you
loud
whore,
and’
one
poem
vanished.
A
whole
people
of
neurotics,
struggling
to
keep
 from
being
sane.
And
the
only
thing
that
would
cure
the
neurosis
would
be
your
murder.
Simple
as
 that.
I
mean
if
I
murdered
you,
then
other
white
people
would
begin
to
understand
me.
You
 understand?
No
I
guess
not.
If
Bessie
Smith
had
killed
some
white
people
she
wouldn’t
have
needed
 that
music.
She
could
have
talked
very
straight
and
plain
about
the
world.
No
metaphors.
No
grunts.
 No
wiggles
in
the
dark
of
her
soul.
Just
straight
two
and
two
are
four.
Money.
power.
Luxury.
Like
 that.
All
of
them.
Crazy
niggers
turning
their
backs
on
sanity.
When
all
it
needs
is
that
simple
act.
 Murder.
Just
murder!
Would
make
us
all
sane.
[Suddenly
weary)
Ahhh.
Shit.
But
who
needs
it?
I’d
 rather
be
a
fool.
Insane.
Safe
with
my
words,
and
no
deaths,
and
clean,
hard
thoughts,
urging
me
to
 new
conquests.
My
people’s
madness.
Hah!
That’s
a
laugh.
My
people.
They
don’t
need
me
to
claim
 them.
They
got
legs
and
arms
of
their
own.
Personal
insanities.
Mirrors.
They
don’t
need
all
those
 words.
They
don’t
need
any
defense.
But
listen,
though,
one
more
thing.
And
you
tell
this
to
your
 father,
who’s
probably
the
kind
of
man
who
needs
to
know
at
once.
So
he
can
plan
ahead.
Tell
him
 not
to
preach
so
much
rationalism
and
cold
logic
to
these
niggers.
Let
them
alone.
Let
them
sing
 curses
at
you
in
code
and
see
your
filth
as
simple
lack
of
style.
Don’t
make
the
mistake,
through
 some
irresponsible
surge
of
Christian
charity,
of
talking
too
much
about
the
advantages
of
Western
 rationalism,
or
the
great
intellectual
legacy
of
the
white
man,
or
maybe
they’ll
begin
to
listen.
And


then,
maybe
one
day,
you’ll
find
they
actually
do
understand
exactly
what
you
are
talking
about,
all
 these
fantasy
people.
All
these
blues
people.
And
on
that
day,
as
sure
as
shit,
when
you
really
 believe
you
can
accept
them
into
your
fold,
as
half‐white
trusties
late
of
the
subject
peoples.
With
 no
more
blues,
except
the
very
old
ones,
and
not
a
watermelon
in
sight,
the
great
missionary
heart
 will
have
triumphed,
and
all
of
those
ex‐coons
will
be
stand‐up
Western
men,
with
eyes
for
clean
 hard
useful
lives,
sober,
pious
and
sane,
and
they’ll
murder
you.
They’ll
murder
you,
and
have
very
 rational
explanations.
Very
much
like
your
own.
They’ll
cut
your
throats,
and
drag
you
out
to
the
 edge
of
your.
cities
so
the
flesh
can
fall
away
from
your
bones,
in
sanitary
isolation.


LULA
[Her
voice
takes
on
a
different,
more
businesslike
quality)
I’ve
heard
enough.

 CLAY
[Reaching
for
his
books)
I
bet
you
have.
I
guess
I
better
collect
my
stuff
and
get
off
this
train.
Looks


like
we
won’t
be
acting
out
that
little
pageant
you
outlined
before.

 LULA
No.
We
won’t.
You’re
right
about
that,
at
least.
[She
turns
to
look
quickly
around
the
rest
of
the
car)
All


right!
[The
others
respond)

 CLAY
[Bending
across
the
girl
to
retrieve
his
belongings)
Sorry,
baby,
I
don’t
think
we
could
make
it.
[As
he
is


bending
over
her,
the
girl
brings
up
a
small
knife
and
plunges
it
into
CLAY’S
chest.
Twice.
He
slumps
across
 her
knees,
his
mouth
working
stupidly)



LULA
Sorry
is
right.
[Turning
to
the
others
in
the
car
who
have
already
gotten
up
from
their
seats)
Sorry
is
the
 rightest
thing
you’ve
said.
Get
this
man
off
me!
Hurry,
now!
[The
others
come
and
drag
CLAY’S
body
 down
the
aisle)
Open
the
door
and
throw
his
body
out.
[They
throw
him
off]
And
all
of
you
get
off
at
the
 next
stop.
[LULA
busies
herself
straightening
her
things.
Getting
everything
in
order.
She
takes
out
a
 notebook
and
makes
a
quick
scribbling
note.
Drops
it
in
her
bag.
The
train
apparently
stops
and
all
the
 others
get
off,
leaving
her
alone
in
the
coach.




 Very
soon
a
YOUNG
NEGRO
of
about
twenty
comes
into
the
coach
with
a
couple
of
books
under
his
arm.
He
 sits
a
few
seats
in
back
of
LULA.
When
he
is
seated
she
turns
and
gives
him
a
long
slow
look.
He
looks
up
 from
his
book
and
drops
the
book
on
his
lap.
Then
an
OLD
NEGRO
CONDUCTOR
comes
into
the
car,
doing
a
 sort
of
restrained
soft
shoe,
and
half
mumbling
the
words
of
some
song.
He
looks
at
THE
YOUNG
MAN,
 briefly,
with
a
quick
greeting]



CONDUCTOR.
Hey,
brother!

 YOUNG
MAN
Hey.
[The
CONDUCTOR
continues
down
the
aisle
with
his
 little
dance
and
the
mumbled
song.


LULA
turns
to
stare
at
him
and
follows
his
movements
down
the
aisle.
The
CONDUCTOR
tips
his
hat
when
 he
reaches
her
seat,
and
continues
out
the
car]



1. Plot/Structure – Describe the plot of the story. Avoid making comments or interpretations about behavior and actions by the characters, just stick with describing what happens in the story. Are there other stories you know of that is similar to the plot of this story?

Most stories, as we’re familiar with them through movies, have the structure of a beginning, middle, and end. The plot is essentially the action of the story, where one event or action leads to another event or action, which leads in a long string of actions that arrives at a final confrontation. After the final confrontation, there is the resolution and denouement. This story telling structure is embodied through a model known as Freytag’s Pyramid, which maps out a traditional plot like this:

freytag's pyramid.jpg

2. Point of View – Who is telling this story, a first person or third person narrator? How would you characterize this narrator?

In any literary work, whether it’s a short story, poem, or novel, the point of view from which a story is told is an important element to keep in mind, because the ‘point of view’ determines who the narrator is, the narrator being the one who’s telling the story. We often assume that it’s the author who is telling the story, but it’s not as simple as that. There are 3 basic types of points of view and an author has to choose which one he or she will use. The 3 types are as follows: first person, second person, third person.

3. Characters – List and describe the primary characters of the story. Focus on specific details about each character, such as certain behaviors and/or things they say.

This is probably the most familiar of all the literary elements and the one we immediately react to when reading any story. The analysis of a character is one of the core activities of most literary interpretation and it’s hard to cover all the ways we go about analyzing a character, most of which you’ll learn to do through consistent practice and engagement with the works we read in this class. In the most general sense, what we look at in a character is their behavior, the actions they take and/or the decisions they make. We look closely at what they say in order to get a sense of their view of a situation, or their view of the world; we also focus on how they interact with other characters, asking ourselves if a certain act or decision has aggressive implications, or was meant well but with unfortunate consequences. These are things to pay attention to, along with what they say through dialogue, which is also revealing about a character. There’s no end to the ways we look and react to characters we’re presented within a story, one reader may love and identify with a certain character that another reader will strongly dislike, even hate, and both would be correct as long as they’re able to present evidence of what the character did, in the form of actions and statements, that supports their reaction.

4. Setting – What did you find unique or interesting about the setting of this story? What caught your attention? How does the setting add to the story?

Where a story is set and the background against which characters are engaged, is an important element to consider when reading works of literature. A story that’s set in a city like San Francisco reveals a very different world from a story that’s set in a small country town like Wilson, Wyoming. When we consider the setting of a story, the information we’re given about the surroundings can imply vastly different moods and attitudes.

5. Imagery – Were there images or symbols in the story that appears repeatedly? Do you think there is any significance or importance to the repeated image?

It’s possible a teacher from a past class once asked you, “What does the ____ symbolize in the story?” and you can fill in the blank with any noun you can think of. Suffice it to say, this very simple question is, more or less, what imagery is about in a literary work. Any image, whether an object or a certain color or even a character’s gesture that gets repeated throughout a story, is a sign that thing/color/gesture has significance. Of course, the question is, as stated above, what do any of these images symbolize? You can offer your thoughts on an image’s meaning based on what you’re able to understand about the story and its other elements. All this will shape what you think a certain object symbolizes.

6. Theme – With regards to the topic of love and relationships, what do you think this story is saying about love and relationships?

The theme of a story, novel, play, or poem is very similar to a thesis statement in an essay. Like a thesis, the theme states the story’s intended message or point, because every story we read has some purpose to it and it’s that purpose we, as readers, have to articulate. Of course, a big difference here is that while thesis statements are clearly stated in an essay we read, the theme in a story is always implied, so you have to puzzle out what that theme is based on what you’ve read. To help you as you try to establish the theme of a literary work, here are two things to ask yourself: 1) what is the main topic of the story and 2) what is the story saying about that topic? With the first question, the kinds of topics that get covered in literary works vary and can run the gamut from the role of technology in our lives to the true definition of love.

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