Representations of the family in southern drama : before and after the civil rights and women's movements
Filippo, Anna Maria
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During the twentieth century, America not only developed a national drama, but as the country’s regions became more distinct, it developed regional dramas as well. No region, however, has received more attention for its plays than the South. There is, perhaps, a mystique surrounding the American South that is manifested in its manners, rules, decorum, and role assignments, and with this comes its own set of expectations. How do we recognize a southern play? There are several markers of southern drama that have passed the test of time. This study will examine three: the southern woman, the black character, and the Southern Gothic. Because the family unit is an important element of southern culture and, indeed, plays a factor in the vast majority of southern plays, it is logical to use the family as an axis for this study. Finally, if we chronicle the history of southern drama in the twentieth century, we see how the social movements of the 1960s and ’70s (the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Movement) have changed the way we interpret the traditional characteristics of this regional drama. After 1980, the southern family and the southern drama genre became represented somewhat differently. With thirty plus years having elapsed since the social turmoil of the ’60s and ’70s, we have the advantage of hindsight and the opportunity to reevaluate what constitutes contemporary southern drama.