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The environment that we live in can form or alter an individual’s character to who theybecome. This is among the depictions in the one act play “Am I Blue,” composed by Beth Henley.
This play highlights the 2 primary characters, John Polk Richard and Ashbe Williams, of havingvery various impacts and extremely different characters, nevertheless their various personalitiescome together, and they recognize how affected they truly are by their surroundings and by eachother.
John Polk and Ashbe come from really different social structures.
John Polk, who is ashy, square minded seventeen year old young boy, goes to college as a freshman and is also ina fraternity with his bro. Ashbe nevertheless, is a very outspoken, eccentric sixteen year old girl.
She a woman with horn rimmed glasses, and non-stop talk. She participates in high school, and to Ashbe, having the best pals means acceptance in today’s world; Nevertheless, she is thought about a castaway worthwhile just of being teased and mocked by the very group by which she desires to be accepted.
In comparison, John wants to be accepted by his fraternity bros, however John doesnot wish to experience rejection for believing or acting versus the crowd, and admits to Ashbethat it was his sibling that persuaded him into joining the fraternity. On the other hand, Ashbe is a freespirited creative individual, who believes in expressing uniqueness. Whether she is putting bluefood coloring in John Polk’s rum and coke, making paper hats, or stringing Cheerios together tomake a pendant, Ashbe reveals her own individuality, and by doing this she attempts to show him how important being himself genuinely is, and bridges the loneliness which instills them both.
John Polk and Ashbe also come from different households structures. John comes from avery tight knit household that owns their own soybean farm, and his dad hopes he will attendbusiness school and aid handle the family service. However, John wishes to do something elsewith his life. When Ashbe asks him what dosage he wish to become, he specified “I do not understand. Iwanted to be a minister or something excellent, however I don’t even know if I believe in God”( 1971 ).
John wants to be “a minister or something good.” However, his problems in life are breaking hisspirit and his belief in God disappears as he fills his life with immoral acts, like partying anddrinking in the fraternity. John also said “I never used to worry about being a failure. Now I thinkabout it all the time. It’s just I need to do something that’s … fulfilling”(1971). John does notbelieve managing the soybean farm is fulfilling. Even though he does not want to work on thefarm, John feels obligated into making his dad happy. In contrast, Ashbe comes from a brokenfamily and lives in a messy run down apartment with her father, who leaves her home alone. Shehas very little contact with her mother and sister that live in Atlanta, and expresses her lonelinesswith the creativity she learned from her mother. Ashbe tries to help John explore his ownambitions and not allow others to make his ambitions for him.
John is a custom to the fast life “of parties, booze, honking horns”(1962), and realizesthe adult world looms ahead, and concludes that life on the soybean farm is different fromfraternity life. He soon finds himself at a crossroads when his fraternity brothers get him a FrenchQuarter prostitute as an eighteenth birthday present so that he can become a man. He is verynervous and apprehensive about meeting her, and exercises poor judgment by saying “Oh, God, Ineed to get drunk”(1964). John resorts to drinking alcohol when he thinks about his problems,and drinks alcohol throughout the play to escape from his worries. In contrast, Ashbe is a social person, and she isn’t afraid to tell people the truth about themselves or the situation that theymight be in. Ashbe is quick to tell John Polk what she thought of him when they were arguing atAshbe’s house. She had called him a sheep for his life was already sketched out for him, evenbefore he was born, and when his father passes away he will inherit the family soy beam farm.
She also called him a sheep for following what his brother did and doing what his fraternityfriends want him to do. John Polk had too much influence from his family, thus creating hispersonality like a sheep’s. Ashbe also said in an argument with John, that he is only in thefraternity because it is expected of him. John then resents the comment, but moments later herealizes he is being normal. John stated “About me, you were right. I am a sheep, a normal one.
I’ve been trying to get out of it but I’m as big a sheep as ever”(line 1971). John knows he doeswhat others expect. He says he can not deny wanting to become normal. John does not want toexperience rejection for thinking or acting against the crowd. She wants him to be himself andnot try to fit in with everyone else. John soon after realizes Ashbe is right, and the so calledfraternity friends only set him up with the prostitute because it was cool thing to do. By JohnPolk not going to the prostitute, he shows how he cares for Ashbe and not what the fraternityguys think. For the first time, John Polk does not follow the crowd, and he decides to follow hisown heart.
http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/english/ms-writers/dir/henley_beth/Elizabeth Becker Henley was born May 8, 1952, in Jackson, Mississippi, the daughter of an attorney and an actress. Early on she dreamed of becoming an actress, and to that end she earned a B.F.A. at Southern Methodist University in 1974. While at SMU, she wrote her first play, the one-act Am I Blue, which was produced at SMU’s Margo Jones Theatre in 1973.
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