1 Salkree

Oleanna Essays Analyzing Carol Movie

These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. We are thankful of their contributions and encourage you to make your own.

Alluding to the Clarence Thomas controversy, the play seems to be criticizing the society's over adherence to political correctness and commenting on the prevalent use of feminism as a form of manipulation during that time. Feminism is portrayed negatively in this play through the depiction of Carol as a radical and manipulative character. John is certainly arrogant and not likable, but many things he said can actually be interpreted differently. His words and actions are taken out of the context of that particular situation and conversation and interpreted in the worst possible way. For instance, when he said "I like you" to Carol, under that context he is only trying to show kindness and reassure Carol who appears to be very frustrated. Yet when taken out of the context and strictly examined with the guidelines of what is politically correct, it could be interpreted as inappropriate. It can be concluded that Mamet is unsupportive of such social phenomenon where a political movement can be manipulated to serve one's own agenda.

The most obvious theme in Oleanna is the constant struggle for power between men and women, and also between those with less power and those with more power. At the beginning, Carol as a female student is defenseless against John and has almost no power. John has title, money, and is in charge both in his own household and at a societal level. In this sense, John's power and authority as male professor is absolute. However, there is also power in Carol's apparent weakness. Ironically, Carol's power also lies in the fact that she is a woman. She understands how to manipulate her weak position in order to take advantage of John. She knows that the tenure board will protect the weak and be in favor of her due to the feminist movement during that time, so she charges John of sexual harassment and rape simply because she can. In the end, when John is stripped of his powers (his job, his house), he resorts to physical power by assaulting Carol. In conclusion, sometimes power is not absolute, and even weakness can be manipulated to become power.

Language in used in this play to represent power. As evident from the change in language patterns used by the characters, it can be seen that eloquent speech and advanced vocabulary represent power. In Act One, Carol is portrayed as nervous, desperate, uncertain, and almost idiotic, thus her speech includes many pauses and ellipsis and she uses very simple sentences and vocabularies. Carol is also unable to comprehend advanced words used by John such as “paradigm” and “transpire” at the beginning. John, on the other hand, is fluent in speech and uses higher level scholarly vocabularies, demonstrating his confidence and authority over Carol as a male professor. However, as Carol gains slowly power over John in Act Two and Three, her sentences become more complex and her vocabulary level escalated. John's speech in turn deteriorated into broken sentences, and in the end, into angry outbursts and derogatory terms as he loses the power he once held.

Throughout the play, Carol and John's conversations are frequently interrupted, and they constantly seem to be unable to understand each other. At the beginning, Carol does not understand John's teachings and his use of vocabulary. Then later, John does not understand why Carol accused him for sexual harassment and offensive speech. The failure to understand and communicate without interruptions and misconceptions highlights the communication barriers between the characters, to demonstrate not only the distinction between student and professor, but more importantly the disparity between man and woman. Due to their difference in gender and status, there is a lack of concern and empathy for each other; they cannot stand in the shoes of each other to understand things from another perspective. While Carol thinks that she is fighting for a righteous cause against arrogant and patriarchal men like John, John thinks that he should have power and control over Carol as a social superior. This thus shows the antagonism between the genders as they each pursue seemingly incompatible goals.

+ All A Christmas Carol Essays:

  • Analysis of Poems 'Eurydice' and 'Mrs. Midas' by Carol-Ann Duffy
  • The Dualism of Joe Christmas
  • The Definition of Christmas
  • How Does Carol Ann Duffy Challenge the “Familiar Cultural Stereotypes” of Women in ‘Mrs Beast’??
  • Australian Christmas: A Holiday Short Story
  • Analysis of “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”
  • Religion Expressed Through Art
  • Our Italian Tradition
  • Sony Marketing Plan
  • Taking a Look at Celtic Music
  • A Comparison of Christmas in America and Spain
  • Critical Analysis of The Secret Of Raising Smart Kids”, Carol S. Dweck
  • Dracula Seen in New Eyes
  • Christmas in Kalahari
  • Main Street
  • Hindi Songs Copied from English Songs
  • Christmas Stories: Angel´s Dust
  • Analysis of “Prayer” by Carol Ann Duffy
  • The Year of the Woman
  • The Transition from Childhood to Adulthood in Joyce Carol Oates' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
  • Consider the Role and Treatment of Love in Carol Ann Duffy’s Valentine.
  • War Photographer by Carol Ann Duffy
  • Tim Burton's Particular Way of Making Films
  • Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates
  • How are tension and suspense created in The Signalman and The Red
  • Grandama's Memories of the Great Depression
  • The Portrayal of Christopher Columbus in Elementary School Education
  • Jim Henson
  • Abominable: Gender Role and Women
  • Corporate Culture
  • Lucille Ball
  • Joyce Carol Oates' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
  • The Haunting of Humanity: Herman Melville
  • Ted Bundy
  • Comparing Salem Possessed by Paul Boyer, The Story of the Salem Witch Trials by Bryan Le Beau, and Devil in the Shape of a Woman by Carol Karlsen
  • Analysis of The Hanged Man's Bride, The Trial for Murder and Confession Found in a Prison
  • Horror Films
  • Fdt4 Task 2
  • Charles Dickens
  • Personal Narrative- Christmas Cookies
  • Comparing Faulkner's Light in August and James' Portrait of a Lady
  • Ultimate Love in Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
  • What is Oleanna?
  • Interpretation of Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates
  • MGMT 301 Organizational Behavior: Margaret Atwood's 'Cat's Eye' and Groupthink
  • Southwest Airlines - Key Points for
  • Christmas as a Federal Holiday
  • Asean Culture
  • Religious Symbols in Society: Church vs. State
  • Exploring the Role of Women in Mexico in Like Water For Chocolate
  • Describing American Pop Culture
  • How Can the Use of Mental Images, Concepts and Schemas to Organise Our Thinking Help Us to Improve Our Memory?
  • Unit 302
  • Goodnight Mr Tom Chapter Breakdown
  • The Success of The Simpsons
  • A Tragic Event in Shooting Stars by Carol Ann Duffy
  • A Lack of Charity
  • The Devil in Joyce Carol Oates' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
  • The Gap Between Rich and Poor
  • Carol Ann Duffy's Revision of Masculinist Representations of Female Identity
  • Questioning the Meaning of Life
  • Nat King Cole
  • Purely Mercenary: A Study of Capital in It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Charles Dickens
  • The Personality of Scrooge
  • Weaf Aat Level 2
  • Joyce Carol Oates' Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?
  • Arnold Friend Symbolizes the Devil in Where are you Going, Where Have you been? by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Bah Humbug!: Having No One To Share Your Fortune With
  • Comparison of Modern Day Heroes and Beowulf
  • Use of Dramatic Techniques in Cartwright's Road and Kane's Blasted
  • Holidays and Our Consumer Culture: The History and Current Trends for Christmas Shopping
  • Concert Review and Bio: Tchaikovsky
  • The Inspector's Role As A Dramatic Device in An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

Leave a Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *