Straight Outta American Lit

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Straight Outta American Lit by Mind Map: Straight Outta American Lit

1. Written by: Mary V.V.

2. Drama Project

3. "A Dialogue between A Southern Congressman and His Spouse on His Return Home from the Grand Continental Congress"

4. Focus on the historical context of the work and how that effects different aspects of his writing

4.1. Throughout literature, it has become obvious that historical and cultural instances play a lasting role in what the author writes. The drama “A Dialogue between a Southern Delegate and His Spouse on His Return from the Grand Continental Congress” is no different, and wouldn’t have been written without the historical influences that were occurring. In the dialogue, the husband, who is a delegate of a southern state, opted to go to the Grand Continental Congress (1774 lines 41-42). He knew that taking this trek could cause him to end up in jail, or worse, dead (line 48), but he still felt the need to go. He knew he needed to support the Revolution and the overturning of King George for America’s Independence. The author, Mary V.V. was actually a pseudonym for the famous Thomas Jefferson, someone who was very involved with the Revolution. The dialogue was most likely inspired by either his own experience, or that of a close friend. At the time the act was written, the Continental Congress had just adjourned and the Declaration of Independence would be written and signed within 2 years. Jefferson was strongly in favor of, and an outward speaker for, American Independence and he most likely needed some type of outlet. In the drama, the husband condones his wife for speaking against his actions when she knows nothing of politics (lines 55-58). In reality, there were some women at the time who worked beside their husbands in the fight for freedom- and this is what the wife reveals to her husband (lines 59-70). Without the historical influences that were occurring, this piece of work would never have been written.

4.1.1. Big Idea Question and SLO 2

5. Setting Letter

5.1. The setting in the drama “A Dialogue Between a Southern Delegate and His Spouse on His Return From the Grand Continental Congress” by Mary V.V. is very representative to the time that it was written. Not only does all the action occur in the same place and time, but it is quite brief. The plot revolves around and argument between a husband and a wife in regards to the husband’s actions. The wife is upset that he opted to go to the Continental Congress and support the American Revolution. She knows this action is punishable by death and is afraid for her husband’s life. To portray how dire the situation is and exemplify the reality of it, the play takes place during the time of the Continental Congress- around 1774. At one point the husband tells his wife to keep her voice down so that the neighbors can’t hear their conversation (1774 line 4). As a result, the dialogue is forced to take place solely in the setting of the couple’s home. The time and place the accord takes place in is very crucial to the main idea of the text. It was important for the author to create a tone of fear and make the reader aware of the situation. If the play had taken place in the future, it would only be the characters imagining the situation, not truly living it. If the play had been set in a different time or place, an extended metaphor would have to be used. Since the episode depicts an actual event, in order for the characters to exhibit it, without being there, the author would have either needed an extended metaphor or an analogous plot. For instance, the author could have written about a priest who secretly met to fight for religious freedom.

5.1.1. SLO1 and SLO3

6. Compring Texts

6.1. The drama “A Dialogue between a Southern Delegate and His Spouse on His Return from the Grand Continental Congress” was written in 1774, during the peak of the American Revolution. In 2006, the novel The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was written by John Boyne. These works of literature are not only different genres, but were written over 240 years apart and in different cultures. The drama was written by an American and the novel was written by an Irish man. Despite these differences, both tales tell a story about the main character doing something that could get him killed, but doing it anyway because of his beliefs. In the drama, the American Revolution is in full force and the Revolutionists decided to create a political club to combat the king. The husband feels strongly enough for the cause, that he goes to the meeting (1774 lines 41-42). The drawback is that if he was caught by loyalists, he would be killed. The novel takes place during World War II in a home near a Nazi concentration camp. The boy, Bruno, ventures into the woods one day and discovers the camp, and a boy his own age sitting in it. Bruno, whose father is a Nazi commander, learns of his son’s actions and forbids him to go back to the camp, but the boy refuses. Bruno feels so strongly about playing with his new friend and making the boy happy that he continues to go. At the end of the novel, Bruno finds himself whisked up in a crowd of those being held in the concentration camp and is lead to their death (Boyne). Overall, both stories tell a tale of a man who held strong beliefs in regards to a historical conflict. Although strong consequences would arise if caught, both characters knew what they were doing was right.

6.1.1. SLO4

7. Conflict Letter

7.1. Within the first couple pages of the play “A Dialogue Between a Southern Delegate and His Spouse, on His Return from the Grand Continental Congress”, the main conflict has been revealed. Already it is easy to see that the wife does not approve of her husbands attendance of the Continental congress. In the first line even, she states her disapproval “Mark me Sir, you’ll repent of’t, as sure as/ you’re there” (1774 line 2). Her disapproval of his actions is apparent, and sets the stage for the conflict between the two. As the play continues, her stance on the matter only becomes more clear as she compares her husband to a rabies infested dog: “I fear thou’st been bit, you so foam and so/ slaver” (line 18). The husband continues to defend himself from his wife’s vicious verbal assaults, as he feels that attending the conference is the right thing to do: “Many Things they’ve done, they shou’d/ have sure left alone” (line 24). Clearly, he feels that the British have overstepped their boundaries, and that it is his job to prevent them from treading on him, and his fellow Americans, anymore. Through the rest of the play it is expected that the arguments between the two continue, since they seem to be very opinionated about the matter. There is no clear division in the play, as there are no separations in acts, scenes, or episodes. It also seems that the play doesn’t follow the 5 stages of plot development, since the rising action is apparent at the beginning of the work. However, the climax becomes clear towards the end of the play, however the argument is never truly resolved. The play ends with the wife warning her husband, but he gives no response.

7.1.1. SLO1 and SLO3

8. Character Letter

8.1. This play allows us to sympathize and admire with the wife. The wife is just being a caring wife and trying to make him realize that opting into attending the Continental Congress can get him killed. You can also sympathize with the wife because if you think about your loved ones you know that you would do the something if they were going to engage in an activity that may cause death. This play makes you view the husband negatively because he is engaging in an activity that his wife doesn’t want him to. As a couple they should come to an agreement rather than the husband doing what he wants and not caring about his wife feelings. It also makes you view the husband as a negative person because he is engaging in something that can have him killed so that makes him seem like a bad person. The husband is seen as less sympathetic and it may be because of his role as a man during this time period. If I was conducting this play with my family I would use my grandparents because how this husband and wife argues about certain things the wife doesn’t want her husband to do is the same way my grandparents are which is based upon the time period they grew up in. If I was directing a movie version I would use Queen Latifah as the wife and Denzel Washington as the husband because these are both people in movies that do a great job of getting their point across.

8.1.1. SLO1