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The Reading The Young Man from Atlanta in Chekhov's Dramatic Poetics —Focused on the Pause and the Effect of Behind the Scenes

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2014, 27(3), pp.371-395
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Jeong Youn Gil 1

1동국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper investigates how Foote’s plays succeed Chekhov’s dramatic poetics. I think that their plays are witty, not comic, and though their characters talk at length, it very often appears on its surface to be piffle. Chekhov has structured his plays so that every reaction is set against an obliquely conflicting reaction. Similarly, Foote engages his audience with a troubling but provocative sense of mystery. They explored why some human spirits are able to survive tragedies, while others are utterly destroyed. Often referred to as the American Chekhov because of his dark humor and his compassion for flawed characters, Foote locates the small victories and defeats of everyday life in a spiritual and historical context. With Foote as with Chekhov, this paper emphasizes we have to listen between the lines and pay attention to the effect of the behind the scenes to hear the truth. The principal recurring motif in their plays is the pause. Static and nonprogressional, and comparable to the rest in musical composition, the pause is an essential and integral element of structure which effectively stalls the advancement of thought, action, and time in the theater. Pauses have the effect of speeding up or slowing down the tempo of the play. While realistic in their very nature, pauses can be seen as holes in the lattice of life, as breaks in fabric of the text, which allow the transcendent undercurrents of human existence to come forth from just below the surface of the ordinariness of life portrayed. Also, unseen events and characters act as sources of dramatic tension. “Despite their absence these unseen characters act as driving forces of the dramatic onstage action. These absent characters function as a proximate cause for the onstage action.” In other words, although these offstage characters are not seen in most events of the story, they still serve a strong purpose. They can be used effectively as methods of creating suspense, terror and anticipation in situation. And they points to an inner conflict in characters.

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