Tuesday, 17 January 2012

FLORENCE: Reading & Reacting

                                                                  by Alice Childress

4. Florence is set in the South during the late 1940s.

  • How might the play be different if it were set in the North?
    • If it were set in the North, much likely the setting would be different because the North was liberated during that time. The people in the North are against the slavery in compare with the South.
  • If it were set today?
    • The racial segregation will be gone and perhaps Mrs. Whitney and Mrs. Carter will sit next to each other. This is because there are no more racial conflict happened compare to the 1940s.
5. In line 17, Marge tells Mama that she had better buy some food because sh "can't go to the diner". Then again in line 23, Marge says that Florence has "notion a Negro woman don't need."

What situation is Marge alluding to? Find other references to this "situation" in the play.
    • Marge is alluding that the situation at that time that Negro have some places they are restricted to go to. Furthermore, the line "notions a Negro woman don't need" indicates that Marge is the follower of the concept racial segregation as she went low to even thought that her sister a Negro posses something that contractile their own race.
6. Does Mrs. Carter think of herself as a racist? Do you agree with the assessment of herself?
    • Mrs. Carter did not thinks of herself as a racist because she mirrored herself as a Northerner who are more liberated than the Southerner though she was born in the South. We can see the evidences that she thinks herself as non-racist white woman when she asked Mama not to call her 'Mam'. She did not want to be called 'Mam' by Mama because it is seemed too racist or discriminated. However, she is still a racist in her skin-deep although she did not mention it. It is proved when she told Mama about the book that her brother Jeff, wrote. Mrs. Carter said that the black people like the protagonist in the book cannot succeed because they are black. Other than that, she also offers to help Florence to get a job, but to be a maid and she did not have any intentions to help Florence to pursue her ambition.
7. What causes Mama to disagree with Mrs. Carter about her brother's book? What does this disagreement tell the audience about the characters?
    • Mama disagree with Mrs. Carter about the plot of the book because she thought Zelma, the main character of the story, should not kill herself because she is a black woman. Zelma wanted to be a lawyer but unfortunately, she is black. She does not belong to the world where she quite fitted in. Mama thinks that black people also can have a good job and succeed like the white people and do not have to kill themselves. Mama proved what she had said by telling some of the black people that are success in the careers.

            8. Does Mama's view of Mrs. Carter change or remain the same as the plot develops? Why 
                does Mama ask Mrs. Carter to help Florence? What does she learn that causes her to reject   
                 the "help" that Mrs. Carter offers?

  • Mrs. Carter advised Miss Whitney to stop her daughter, Florence, from pursuing her       ambition but Miss Whitney believed that her daughter would succeed. Mrs. Carter also said that the career which Florence pursued was not very profitable because if there’s a play then, the actors will be paid but if there’s not a single play, the actors would not be paid until there’s a play again. After that, Mrs. Carter offered a help to Miss Whitney. She said that she wanted to help Florence in pursuing her ambition but actually Mrs. Carter was trying to betray Miss Whitney. Miss Whitney was very overjoyed but while having the conversation about the “help”, Miss Whitney felt a sense of betray. Mrs. Carter wanted to make Florence as a maid for Melba Rugby by giving Miss Whitney Melba’s phone number. Then, Miss Whitney asked Mrs. Carter to help Florence to pay the rents and things. Miss Whitney refused the “help” from Mrs. Carter because she knew that her daughter could be anything she wanted rather than become a maid.

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