Oleanna notes

  • Created by: DovaDay
  • Created on: 18-05-16 12:16

Mamet’s use of interruptions portray John as domineering and controlling, unable to let Carol speak. It could perhaps be suggested that this sort of behaviour is, in fact, stereotypically male in any male/female relationship. Indeed, much of linguistic research in the 80s suggested that when a conversation occurred between a man and a woman, men would often be the ‘dominant speaker’, controlling topics and interrupting the other speaker, hardly conforming to Grice’s Maxims. Mamet would have been aware of this research when he wrote the play, and so this interruption could be reflective of male/female relationships in general.

However, later on in the play, Carol begins to interrupt more and more (example). This sugests and reiforces Carol's subversion of the patriarchy, and in a wider context, of the subversion of hierarchies across society. The second wave feminist movement in the 1960s through to the early 1980s had left many women, and indeed other minority groups, seeking power and equality. Yet here, true equality is never reached, there is never a dynamic equillibrium, only one dominant speaker either way. Is this a suggestion that men and women can never find true equality? Or is it perhaps a suggestion that hierarchies are never destroyed, only re-shuffled?


Mamet uses imperatives to further the theme of sight in the play. John tells Carol to

‘Look. Look. look.’,

commanding her to see from his perspective, which suggests that he still believes his viewpoint to be the correct one. In this tripling we see reflected the way in which “dead white males”’ views and opinions were forced onto women, dominating library and university shelves, and dominating the classroom in the form of male lecturers. He also rhetorically asks

‘you see?’

which feminists members of the audience would have deemed patronising, only furthering the idea that John believes his perspective to be the ‘truth’ that post-modernist writers refer to, which leads on


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