The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.2013 MYE Exam Review

1Essays reflected an understanding of the themes and concerns of the play. Most were able to discuss the importance to family, the conflict between family responsibilities vs. social responsibilities, war profiteering, idealism vs. pragmatism and criticism of the American Dream.Fair knowledge of the overall plot, the characters and the key episodes of the play. Lecture notes were incorporated. (Imitation is the best form of flattery). Context question was the more popular of the two and most were generally able to pass.Better answers to the context question presented quite sophisticated responses which suggested to the reader that Miller is presenting a surprising level of similarity in the two men. The Good2Lecture notes were incorporated unsparingly which left argumentation incoherent. Essay-based questions were able to aptly identify instances of Kates manipulation, but lacked a thesis in response to the interpretation in the quote - unwitting monster, destructively manipulates. Grasp of dramatic devices was somewhat limited leaving most analysis of devices to mere diction and what characters said or did.Knowledge was overwhelming a considerable number of students excessively cross-referenced in their passage-based questions with little/ superficial attention paid to the actual passage itself.

The Bad3Exam-behavior: late-coming, texts borrowed from the library, clean exam texts or no texts! A handful of students were careless and wrote Millers novel... (perhaps in their overexcitement).And many were trying to illicit a response. (note: elicit)A number of students are still narrating/ describing the events of the play in their essays (for e.g. describing what mother says/does to George as opposed to analysing how she is manipulating George)Paragraphs with NO quotations or dramatic/literary methods cited.Untidy handwriting and light blue ink. Single-side/ one a half side essays. (Please practice timed-exercises! You will need the stamina for your eventual 3 hour paper!)The Ugly4A cross-reference that leaves markers wanting: Keller will do anything for his son. This is also evident in Act 2 where Keller said Chris, I did it for you.. When would I have another chance to make something for you?. Thus here, we see Keller as the self-sacrificial man where nothing is bigger than Chris.Explaining/ repeating the quote: We can see that their relationship is distancing as Chris says, Ive been a good son too long, a good sucker. Im through with it. He almost gave in because of Ann, he is not suppressing himself with the responsibilities of being a good son any longer- it was too long for him.X DESCRIBING/ PROVING/ STATING/ EXPLAINING/ NARRATING5 H1: A destructive monster who also manipulates everyones guilt. H2: An unwitting monster who destructively manipulates everyones guilt.How far do you agree with this assessment of Kate Keller?

The Essay

6Awareness of Kate as Character vs. Awareness of Millers characterisation of Kate. Construct a thesis that answers the question requirements. NOT a Psychology paper: tendency to provide a psychoanalysis of Kate Kates manipulative behaviour is caused by her grief and trauma over her sons death...Literature Paper: focus on how other characters and the audience receive and respond to Kate. General CommentsMany scripts show a great awareness of character but not such a sound awareness of characterisation as a technique. Consequently, essays often present an almost psychoanalytical presentation of character (e.g. Kate does this to hide her own guilt...).

Weaker scripts immediately agree with statement, tended to argue that Kate manipulates everyone without paying attention to her motives and Millers intention in dramatic termsThe essay question produced very varied answers. The weaker scripts tended to immediately agree with the statement in the question and showed very little discrimination regarding words like monster and destructively. Many tended to simply argue that Kate manipulates everyone in one way or another without paying attention to her motives and Millers intention in dramatic terms.

Again, there was the tendency to psychoanalyse Kate as if she was intellectually troubled (caused by the trauma of her sons death etc). This was largely pointless and speculative and took the essay away from the focus of the question which is to consider how we, in the audience, should respond to such a character.

7 (i) unwitting: Kates awareness of her own destructiveness is left to interpretation.

(ii) monster: her persistent repression of the truth may be as heinous as Kellers crime.

(iii) destructively manipulates everyones guilt: Mothers presence is organised around various set-pieces in which she manipulates / manoeuvres/ asserts her version of reality onto other characters.

Understanding of keywords

Students who only dealt with Kate Kellers manipulation and instances of it effectively did not provide an argument or engaged with the quote at all.

8 (i) Unfair assessment: Mother as a sympathetic figure who is no more destructive than Joe and even Chris Keller.

(ii) Fair assessment: Mother as the true villain of the play who calls for denial and living for the family up until the very end of the play. Her fervent upkeep of the illusion effectively leaves the Deever family in ruins and functions as the obstacle to the Chris-Ann marriage. You made Chris guilty with meyouve crippled him in front of me. (P84)

(iii) Fair assessment: Mother destructively manipulates the people around her but without malicious intent; Kate occupies the role of Mother in the play and so protects, preserves rather than destroys. Possible Stands

9(i) Manipulation of George with her overtly matriarchal mannerisms & appeal to nostalgia: Georgie, Georgie (p62-67)

(ii) Manipulation of Ann through emotional appeal and guilt: You think of him! You see! She thinks of him!/No, don't you remember? That's Larry's room./ Deep, deep in your heart youve always been waiting for him But deep in your heart, Annie! (p26-29) and I want to ask you never to say that again (p33);

(iii) Manipulation of Chris and Keller by including them in her myth making: We should never have planted that tree... You above all have got to believe (p20-23) and God does not let a son be killed by his father (p75)

Key episodes that can be extracted:

(i) Manipulation of George: Georgie, Georgie (p62-67): affection in her actions, at last confessing the tension indicates that she was indeed aware and attempted to diffuse the tension between Chris and George with her attention and affections.

(ii) Manipulation of Ann: You think of him! You see! She thinks of him! (p26-29) and I want to ask you never to say that again (p33);

(iii) Manipulation of Chris and Keller: We should never have planted that tree... You above all have got to believe (p20-23) and God does not let a son be killed by his father (p75)

10Character description (note the introduction of her character by Miller before she appears on stage) and character name (Mother)Use of food and clothing images to depict her maternal tendency and overwhelming capacity to love. Use of manipulative language: imperative / commands, rhetorical questions, declaratives and diminutives. General dominance of conversations: line length (Pg 26-29), interruptions.Allusions to Larry and the past, including her dream sequence (P. 20-21), the symbolism of the tree, her insistence that there is no jail, that Larry will return (newspapers on p28)

Key methods that should be highlighted:

*(iii) Note that even Jim is aware of her lying It takes a certain talent for lying. You have it, and I do. But not him.(P80)

11Some common readings:1. To hell with that Millers use of pagan imagery, hellish imagery2. the whole shootin match is for you Miller foreshadows the gun that Keller will kill himself with. (Idiomatic Expression: the whole of something, including everything that is connected with it, the entire affair or matter)3. (putting a fist up to Chriss jaw) Keller almost inflicts bodily hurt/ violence upon his son, foreshadowing the violence because later on, it is Keller who pounds upon Kellers shoulders in Act 2. 4. Discussion of Keller and guilt rather than the father/son, family/social, American Dream concerns that dominate this passage.

Write a critical commentary on the following the portrayal of the relationship between Chris and Keller...

12FYI: passage occurs in Act 1 and precedes the entrance of Mother. So what?Occurs right after Keller states, I ignore what I got to ignore to which Chris manages to push and manipulate Keller into action. It precedes Mothers entrance but we get a sense of the pivotal role she plays in affecting the father-son relationship. The symbolic destruction that Chris-Anns marriage would have on the myth and Mother effectively pronouncing him dead. Establishes Chris and Kellers different train of thought I dont understand you/ You dont want to think that YET, father and son are presented as rooted to aspects of the American Dream.

Significance of the passage: Does it foreground character development, plot development and thematic development?Note: At this point of the play (awareness of dramatisation) audiences are not aware of the guilt yet. How does this foreground the relationship later? How does foreground characterisation later? Several students quite rightly pointed out that this episode comes prior to any knowledge on the audiences part of the faulty aircraft components and so the only conflict here is over the treatment of Kate and how to reconcile her to the idea of Chriss marriage to Ann. These scripts were the ones th