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The Collapse of a Harmonious Community and the Liberalistic Appropriation of the Great Depression in Days to Come

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2006, 19(3), pp.5-31
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Kang Kwan-soo 1

1신경대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Kang, Kwan SooHellman's Days to Come shows the conflict between labor and capital in the Depression Era. People in Callom, a small local community, live harmoniously with each other. In this small town, everybody knows everybody else and no hard feelings have existed between the owner and the workers. But when the Great Depression comes, the harmonious order is threatened. Hellman deals with the collapse of this harmonious community from the liberalistic standpoint. In the Depression Era, many dramatists treat labor problems with left-wing politics and Marxist's class struggle. But Hellman thinks the owner and the workers are one family, not the antagonistic poles of class struggle. Hellman's political opinion is well expressed by her identification with Andrew. He is the paternalistic and liberal owner of the brush company in the small town. His company is in trouble, so he tries to solve the financial problem by giving the workers less money. He wants to solve the problem in a peaceful way, but he faces the workers' strike. Hellman's interest in the labor conflict focuses not on the class struggle, but on the family and the familial community. Hellman deplores the breakdown of the harmonious community in the hard times. In this play, Hellman is cynical and sad like a preacher in Ecclesiastes. Hellman is angry and rebellious in some plays like The Little Foxes and The Watch on the Rhine, but she looks at Andrew's frustration with a sad eye in this work. Hellman identifies with Andrew when he tries to save his company and his community. Hellman takes a liberalist position when she portrays Andrew and his suffering. In Days to Come, Hellman's hero is defeated and lets evil destroy the lives of his friends and his community, but Hellman raises a serious problem in Andrew's frustration and his helplessness.

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