ERIC Number: ED382987
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
American Drama through Chinese Eyes.
An American instructor taught a 5-week course on the family in American drama to a group of graduate English majors on the campus of Hebei Teachers' University in the People's Republic of China. The instructor learned as much about Chinese culture as the students learned about American culture. Lecture is the standard pedagogy even in graduate level classes. Students were stumped by the instructor's request that they write about the plays before being told what the plays meant. Nonetheless their observations were stimulating. For example, excerpts from their comments show that students were highly critical of Tom's escape from the Wingfield family in Tennessee Williams'"The Glass Menagerie." The Chinese culture places more emphasis on communal responsibility than on individual fulfillment. In reading Arthur's Miller's "Death of a Salesman," the students continued in the vein of social critique, laying all the blame for Willy's tragedy on the American capitalistic society. Some students saw in Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" a confirmation of their worst fears of American bigotry; others appreciated the cohesiveness of the African-American family. After some initial confusion, students liked Edward Albee's "The American Dream" enormously and read its indictment of human folly as universal, perhaps because of its comedic and non-realistic mode. The students had a particularly difficult time with Marsha Norman's "'Night, Mother" because they could not understand how a lack of an autonomous self could drive someone to desperation. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (46th, Washington, DC, March 23-25, 1995).