The audience become aware of this typical American family being on the brink of change; there are hints at the inevitable tragedy from the outset. The setting is significant and we discussed this extensively in class. The house displays the Keller’s wealth and status, but the outside setting could hint at the fallibility of people in nature. Although money is central to Joe’s life, by setting it outside wealth becomes irrelevant; it may have delayed it, but it cannot prevent his downfall. We discussed the significance of the time of year being specified. It’s the height of summer – harvest time. Harvest is sometimes a euphemism for death (think of the grim reaper) and this also conveys the concept of reaping what you sow signalling a change to this all American setting. The summer has peaked and change is inevitable part of the natural cycle.
The all American setting is important. Socialising outside is a big part of the American family life; it also allows the audience an intimate glimpse into the family’s secrets. The separation from the community is made clear by the ‘tall’ and ‘closely’ planted poplars and this conveys an oppressive atmosphere where secrets are hidden. We also discussed the significance of Larry’s tree being an apple tree. There is much that we interpreted from this, but one of the aspects to consider is the saying ‘American as apple pie’. The play being American is essential as it critiques American society.
It was my plan to give you some links to some pages for your homework, but I think that this is unnecessary. You can do it yourself! It will also ensure there is a greater range of information – do not copy and paste as you need to engage with the information.
Could you also let me know before the lesson if you are going to be out at the History conference on Wednesday please?