Thesis Statement: “Dutchman” showed how African American people, represented by the character Clay experienced oppression against Whites which is represented by Lula. Introduction: The Dutchman is a play written by Amiri Baraka and played at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York and made into a movie in 1966. The play was recently reawakened in 2007. The play had been thrown of various criticisms especially on the part of black community. Analysis:
The play bears elements primarily against black raising racism an the symbolic way of discrimination and violence against black community would seemingly happen in a cycle throughout and trying to give sympathy to white community about the situations and feelings of black against white racism (eNotes. com, Inc, 2007) Major conversation of the two main characters already revealed the theme of the play. In the play, while having conversation with Clay, Lula is eating an apple. This fruit has its very significant contribution to the idea of the play.
The apple is a very symbolic element of Eve and Adam Biblical story. The apple reveals the whole intentions of Lula, the outlawed fruit idea and all. The conversation between Clay and Lula symbolizes the never-ending controversy about racial criticisms. In the first part of the play, the intentional generalization and stereotyping of people relation is apparent. When Clay said that he didn’t know anything about Lula and he knows that she is a well-known type, Lula starts and directs the conversation and insists to handle the conversation throughout the ride while revealing her intention (Benefield, 2001).
“Clay. You live in a tenement? Lula. Wouldn’t live anywhere else. Reminds me specifically of my novel form of insanity” (Benefield, 2001). These words expresses of what is the major feeling of the play. Dutchman is an angry play and eventually directs through its cruel ending. In addition, it also articulates the complexity happened in 1964 and until now is relevant concerning racial kin. In the last part of the play, it is observed the appearance of Black Nationalist credo. It is just the symbol of the importance of African American literature where students can gain knowledge.
The concept of sanguinity, brightness, hopefulness and buoyancy can not be tracked from the play. There’s no hero living in the play for racial discrimination continues to persist. The play primarily pointed out several fault of people and of the society as a whole. This flaw mainly refers to the white man’s tyranny against black. The long conversation of the two main characters just regards that although people are aware of social inequalities happening around society continue to rekindle the issue.
At that time, racial relation is already heightened but still the stereotypes of white and black society is still present. In short, instead of waging a war against racial discrimination, the situation continues to revive and reawaken the critical society of racial kin. Example of stereotype is when Lula said, “…you’re a well-known type…I know the type very well,” and Clay answer back, “Without knowing us specifically? ” (“The Dutchman – Oppression of the Black Man “) stereotypes are the first to break the racial issue associating with another race.
Stereotypes symbolize not just the single person but the people in general. In the play, it represents the white people unawareness about black before although they already know it. At the end of the play, the situation of most oppression appeared. It pointed out the despotism and cruelty for the browbeaten. For example, it is evident from the following lines the tyranny against black community: “Get this man off me! “, “Open the door and throw his body out,” and “all of you get off at the next stop” (“The Dutchman – Oppression of the Black Man “).
It followed where crowd obeys without hang back. In addition, when a person is murdered, there’s no second thought of occurrence given. This metaphor discloses the society’s ignorance about the human suffering. The unawareness and unconscious of every individual is portrayed when people around the situation acts like nothing happened. The pattern of this racial relations is cyclical as it is shown when black people sits near Lula. The treatment of Lula to Clay is not really new to her for it is part of her second nature (Bacalzo, 2007). The plot of the play is exposed and plain and simple.
The first part of the play already reveals the first part of the understanding of the subject matter until it ends where the general theme is uncovered. The conversation of the two main characters, Lula and Clay, unveiled the general theme and issue of what the play conveys. The intact actions take place in “the flying underbelly of the city” (Kumar, 2007). Lula represents a sophisticated woman as described as “a tall, slender, beautiful woman with long red hair hanging straight down her back wearing only loud lipstick in somebody’s good taste” (Kumar, 2007).
The description of Lula is not difficult to grasp of who she really is and not difficult to locate in an ordinary society. The issue begins to flame when she started to talk. His talk really breaks the game and directs the theme of the play and directs the rule of the game. As she is talking, she invests herself deliberately in a situation of imprecision, irregularity and mysteriousness. His words and move is expressed in a premeditated manner and loaded with significant issue. The opening of the play cycles around looking in and looking at.
After Lula went into the car, she sits beside Clay and the stage course reads: “It is apparent that she is going to sit in the seat next to CLAY, and that she is only waiting for him to notice her before she sits” (Kumar, 2007). After some talk, eventually, the conversation turned into what Clay looks like. The actions and speech of Lula is invested intentionally and with motive. In addition to the comments in the play, one problem aroused is the language itself is indeterminate, causing a subjective point of view to the language used and with endless possibilities of meaning open in it.
According to Jonathan Culler, language can be put into work but its meaning cannot be put into visibility. Language is used anywhere in any subjects of conversation but might go on to highlight. One can play the game but sometimes you can never ascertain who is playing or playing seriously (Kumar, 2007). Lula’s typecast of Clay diverged pointedly with her portrayal of herself as uncertain, irregular and capricious. The efforts of Clay to find out and fix Lula’s image are refused in a disillusioned kind of manner.
In the line “I told you I wasn’t an actress … but I also told you I lie all the time”, what ever she tells about Clay comes as a surprise to him. Lula’s clear randomness takes place in a sinister and menacing manner as she ordered Clay’s body out, starts getting everything in regulation. The suggestion of the intentional plan of Lula in the play comes up when the direction reads “begins very premeditatedly to smile” (Kumar, 2007). In the play, her consciousness and intentions of self-motives hang about as her sign of unpredictability and instability.
Lula’s acuity of Clay is a series of stereotyped being thrown against him without any apology. The most reproachful element of the stereotyped pictures in the play is the black sexuality. As conversation goes on, Clay formed a sexual interest toward the woman. Although, it integrates to her, they are all set on the conjecture of naughty and unruly sexual energy in Clay. The own interpretation of Lula’s image against black is not discouraged by Clay’s attempt to deviate her notion about them and plays the game of seduction and provocation.
When Lula pierced him, it is not visible in the play the reason behind the killing: is it because of sexual interest to her or it is the image that is brought by the man? The words and speech of Clay is the series of disclosure and exposure of issue. Conclusion: During the period of slavery and racial racism in the United States, many African American people suffered from the oppression and tyranny of whites. The Play “Dutchman” is an implication and reflection about the Whites dominating power and Blacks sufferings. Bibliography Bacalzo, Dan. Dutchman. 23 January 2007. 27 October 2007
<http://www. theatermania. com/content/news. cfm/story/9898>. Benefield, Walter. Dutchman: A classic drama. 12 November 2001. 27 October 2007 <http://www. suite101. com/article. cfm/harlem_renaissance/102275>. eNotes. com, Inc. Dutchman. 2007. 27 October 2007 <http://www. enotes. com/dutchman>. Kumar, Nita N. The logic of retribution: Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman. 2007. 27 October 2007 <http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m2838/is_2-3_37/ai_110531670/pg_4>. “The Dutchman – Oppression of the Black Man “. 2007. (27 October 2007). <http://www. 123helpme. com/view. asp? id=5039>.