Oleanna Contexts (1990's America)


Gender politics

  • Anita Hill's accusation of Clarence Thomas of sexual assault - live coverage - Hill's claims not proven/disproven but reputation ruined, decided my all-male jury - later recieved nationwide sympathy & Clarence's acceptance into supreme court was decided by an extremely close vote (52/48)
  • Third wave of feminism in the 1990s - traditional views about women continued to change - work/pay - women earned 71% of what men earned - 60% of single mothers in povery, however by end of 90s 40% of medical students & 50% of law students female
  • Crisis of masculinity - 'Angry white men' phenomenon - The Million Man March, The Promise Keepers Rally, Tailhook Scandal
  • American Campus (Sexual)

Greek Tragedy

  • Structurally, Oleanna has been compared to that of a Greek tradgedy
  • Perepeteia - reversal of fortune/sudden change - John loses authority over Carol in Act 2, Carol is assaulted & (physically) loses elevated, authoritative position over John in Act 3
  • Anagnorisis - moment of sudden realization/discovery - John learns of **** charges in Act 3, Carol learns about John not having been home in days
  • Harmatia - character's 'fatal' flaw - John - offering 'A' grade, putting arm around Carol, trying to restrain Carol…


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