1) What was your overall opinion of the play? Read question two before you begin answering question one. (Include thoughts on structure, character, originality, themes, and overall impact or importance.) I felt as though even giving the fact that the workers were entry level worker, meaning they were not making a ton of money their style would have said other wise. I felt the dress and dialouge of the play was very proper and immitated those of higher education. The use of authentic character names and the playful and powerful emtions lends to the idea that hispanic people are naturally passionate in everything they do. The themes most prominate to me were that of love, servitude and pride in ones work.
2) What was your opinion of the style and type of dialogue used in the play? (What insight did you receive about Cruz’s writing style by reading the “Dreamer from Cuba” article?) 3) What do you believe are the major themes or ideas in this play? (Please support your answer with references from the playscript.) 4) What do you think Cruz wanted the audience to take away from this play? Did he succeed? Defend your answer. I think Cruz wanted the audience to take away that love and passion for anything mixed with determination can accomplish anything, and that even in death the spirit of those who have passed stays with us with the help of our memory of them and the action of keeping them in our thoughts while finishing what they may have started. The Characters
5) How were the characters affected by their moving to America from Cuba? How did it change their lives? What pressures did they feel when becoming Americans? What struggles might they encounter as immigrants? (Pick one or two characters as the focus of your answer.) The characters overall were slightly affected by their move to American in the sense that the way of life was much different than that of what they were used to in Cuba.
Ofelia for example, as the wife of the factory owner knows that despite the fast pace of their new world, that she must keep her family together, often times reminding them of their love for one another and how the new opportunities afforded to them in American may come with a price. Her daughter on the other hand,Marela is so fascinated by not only the lector and the story line but also dreams of a different life. A life outside the factory. A life where she can love and be free. As Cuban Americans at that time, there were tons of racial tensions that Cruz ties back into the story. As a collective set of characters, the mounting pressure of becoming Americans must have been great due to the time the play takes place.
6) Did you see any symbols or symbolism in the play which represented the characters or affected the character’s lives? For example, what does the title of the play mean? How about the fur coat worn by Marela in the last scene? Or the murder of Juan Julian? Symbols that stand out to me in the play were, the lectors and their responsiblility to read to the workers of the factory. This to me stands for the big brother if you will of of society throughout the ages. Just like settlers teaching native americans about christianity or imposing their religion upon them. I also found the murder of Juan Julian to stand to the inanimate passion and lust that people can set for themselves, lending to unrealistic goals and dreams that are unreachable.
7) Do any of the characters go through any type of transformation through the course of the play? If so, what do you think that transformation was? I found Ofelia transformation to be surprising. She is strong willed and determined. She maintains this steadfast mentaility throughtout the play which was refereshing. Gender and Sexuality
8) Do you think the playwright effectively gets the message across that Marela has been raped during the closing pages of the play? Does Juan Julian’s murder cast too large of a shadow for Marela to speak up? How could Cruz have made this more prominently known without throwing off the balance of these last few pages? The first time I read the last few pages I didnt get that fact that she had been raped. Upon reading again, I saw the message more clear. The murder of Juan Julian offers and celebratory twist that every good story needs. Marela is torn. The murder of Juan takes away from the pain she is feeling and I can imagine how her chararcter must have felt given the fact that she couldnt have changed this and now to shed light on it may be construed as attention seeking or trying to down play his murder. The Play and Society
9) In engaging audiences to discuss issues touched upon by the play, let’s begin our post-performance cocktail discussion. This play brings of the issue of immigration and what some consider the heavy volume of Latin/Central Americans that cross into the United States each year. Please share your feelings on this issue with your classmates. “What’s the big deal about illegal immigration? Do they take away jobs from U.S. citizens? Why can’t they speak English!” So how should we “fix” the problem? If you watched the optional video, did you agree or disagree with any of the students or faculty filmed in the Immigration video? Does Arizona’s immigration law solve the problem or merely create a distraction from the real issues? The United States has always been the land of opportunity.
Despite the issue at hand, the fact remains that we as americans came from all over the globe in hope of find a better future for not only ourselves but for our children and our children’s children. Earlier on we settlers came here determinded to better ourselves. What right do we have, having already done so, or should I say, our ancestors having done so to deny someone that same right. As far as jobs, I have always taken great pride in any job that I do.
I speaks as a testament of ones characters. A sense of pride and competetion resonates inside me. If I am not the best, then what is that other person doing that Im not that gives them that competitive edge on me? This inspires a sense of internal reflection. Fixing this problem isnt a simple black and white issue. I have always thought that having those wishing to enter the country to apply for entry and from there allowing those with this most pressing needs to enter and then furthering this program by helping them set up once they are here. Who is to see the invertor of a clean energy source of the developer of a cure fro AIDS or Cancer doesnt live in another country but there doesnt have the chance to develope their skills, where if here in the United States could be given the chance to better not only themselves but possibly the entire world.
10) Do you believe that the American Melting Pot still exists or has that metaphor faded into oblivion? Do you believe in complete assimilation, a partial retention of culture/traditions, or a complete rejection of assimilation? Can those of us in the cultural or racial majority ever really know what it feels like to be in the minority? By forcing immigrants to be carbon copies of “us”, what does that say about the ideals we tout so proudly? Since we all began as immigrants, are we creating a double standard? American is still a melting pot. I believe in knowing and relishing in where a person is from. It teaches us who we are and why we are who we are. The majority of this country has been and most likely remain the same people. Its a understanding that as an double minortiy we are faced with constantly.
Courtney from Study Moose
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