Thursday, March 27, 2014

US! and The America Play (and Bitstrips link)


The books US! by Chris Bachelder and The America Play by Suzan-Lori Parks are very similar works with many of the main themes overlapping in both.  For starters, both are satirical pieces that place great historical figures in a sort of modern American context. It is within this modern context that both authors use the main theme of resurrection to make a commentary on the current status of American society.  In US!, Bachelder uses the continuous killing and resurrection of Upton Sinclair to comment on both America's need for someone to help them solve their society's issues and the fact that they don't have any legitimate desire to listen to ideas that could potentially help.  In a very similar way,  Parks continuously assassinates and resurrects Abraham Lincoln by having a game where people can pay to simply walk up and shoot Lincoln just for the fun of it.  In both of these plays, the killing and revival of these figures goes to illuminate the fact that their supporters try to keep their ideals alive, while people who are opposed continuously attempt to kill off the things that these figures stand for.  This is a very cyclical process in society, which is why this occurs continuously in both plays.  On top of this, despite the resurrections, the fact that these great figures, who are regarded by many as heroes, are continuously killed is very melodramatic.  It establishes them as victim-heroes, and they prevail in the end only if their legacies are successfully upheld.  Furthermore, there are two levels of popular amusement in both of the books. We see popular amusement within the books themselves coming in the form of the grave-robbing game or the game of shooting Lincoln.  However, both also have a broader popular amusement as they are satirical pieces that are meant to engage and entertain the audience that is reading them.

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