American Lit 1/9 – Clybourne Park

Today we read two long excerpts from the play Clybourne Park, which Bruce Norris wrote in 2011 as a bookend to A Raisin in the Sun. Remember, Act I takes place in the home that the Younger family will move into but features the white family that’s living there (and Karl Lindner’s pitch to keep them there). Act II takes place 50 years later after the neighborhood has become a predominately black neighborhood and a white couple wants to move into the former Younger home (and demolish it and build a new one).

Please get a copy of Clybourn Park from me if you missed class. For Thursday, please have Clybourne Park read and answer one of the following three questions:

1) Does Clybourne Park serve as an appropriate continuation of A Raisin in the Sun?

2) Compare/contrast Clybourne Park to A Raisin in the Sun (and even Death of Salesman). Does Clybourne Park demonstrate that there is one universal American struggle or American Dream?

3) Think back to our question from the beginning of the course: what should American Literature be or do in the 21st century? Does Clybourne Park do/show/reveal/ poke/ reflect what you want to see American Lit do in our time period?

As always, use evidence and specific references to the texts to make comparisons and contrasts? This response should be between 3/4 to 1 full page.

2 thoughts on “American Lit 1/9 – Clybourne Park

  1. 3) I would like literature to really reflect on race and the two sides to the battle being fought. Clybourne Park does a god job of reflecting on what I’d like to see because in A Raisin in the Sun showed me what the struggle was like from the side of an African American family, which is the side that is mostly shown when reading literature about this time period. Clybourne Park let me take an uncomforting step into the shoes of someone who is quite obviously racist, shoes that I have never had to be in before. It would be interesting to see what those who are racist, not just racist but any other kind of “ist”, see the world as. Especially now that Donald Trump has become POTUS I think it is an amazing time for literature to enter a new era and for a whole new literary movement to be created. I government has never been completely Republican since 1929, it would also be an interesting thing to see the difference between literature then versus literature now. It would also be interesting to see how people portray the government then versus how they’d portray the government now. Disaster always reeks time for amazing literature, especially poetry. There is a lot of good that could come from Donald Trump’s presidency, literature wise, as long as authors rise to the occasion and seize the moment.


  2. (This was not able to post correctly)
    American literature has always depicted the era, in Death of a Salesman, Willy and his family had the struggle of becoming more, and wanting more, whether that’s through a personal drive or materials. There’s always that drive to become more, Willy wanted his sons to be great as throughout history, The United States has been thought about as one of the greatest nations and the transcends into people’s own domestic dynamics.
    In Song of Solomon, Milkman’s journey was to better himself and create something out of himself. Milkman tried to find his identity because he felt empty. In comparison to Death of Salesman, Willy felt empty by not being able to live his life to the happiest. In both of these piece of literature, the protagonists were not genuinely happy, they searched for happiness but for Willy that ended up killing him, and for Milkman that left him in a sticky situation.
    Clybourne Park explores the era of integration and the effects of people that are deemed as the antagonists of society, whether that is true or not. It gives the American Literature a broader scope of what really goes down. In the 21st century, critical thinking is taught and expected. Literature to foster critical thinking is what American Literature should be. It has slowly developed into that through controversial books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Catcher in the Rye. As people read about plight and angst it allows reader to foster their own opinion of understanding the lifestyle. American Literature should allow people to get a sense of the standards and lifestyle of people, whether that’s about the majority or minority. It is important to have a well rounded understanding of history and culture.
    Many people tend to read what validates their opinions but many times reading about the opposing sides create a broader scope of intelligence.
    American literature has to convey the vibe and atmosphere of the era, I personally feel as though in 2017, America is divided in many aspects from culture, race, politics and justice. I expect my children to read literature that clearly exemplifies this, (although I cannot stand Tomi Lauren’s rhetoric and annoying voice) it DOES give insight to the opposing side. It is important to understand what makes up the American culture, whether we agree with it or not. American Literature should very much be similar to a liberal art education as it strives for a well-rounded education. American Literature should reflect and the American life as accurately as possible.


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