Thursday, 19 January 2012

Reading and Reacting of Florence

4. Florence is set in the South during the late 1940s. How might the play be different if it were set in the North? If it were set today?

The play might be different if it were set in North because people at North are more open compared to the people in the South. They can accept the black people better than in South. The prejudice and discrimination towards the black people would not happened like in the South. 

If it were set today, there won't be any problem between the black and the white people. For example, the African-American nowadays have achieved much success just like the white people. Barrack Obama is one of the most successful people who represents the black people as a president.The white people are more open, and give more opportunities to the black people today so there won't be any discrimination.

5. In line 17, Marge tells Mama that she had better buy some food because she "can't go the diner." Then again in line 23, Marge says that Florence has "notions a Negro woman don't need." What situation is Marge alluding to? Find other references to this "situation" in the play.

Marge is alluding to the rights that the black people would not get. She says that her Mama had better bought some food because she disallowed to go to the diner. She probably can't even go to any restaurant to eat, as the place is only reserved for the white. 

"Notions that a Negro woman don't need" probably means that the Blacks should not have any desire to become a well-known actors or actresses as the black would not get that opportunity at all during that time.

6. Does Mrs.Carter think of herself as a racist? Do you agree with her assessment of herself?

In our point of view, our first impression of Mrs. Carter is that, she is not a racist because she does not allow Mama to call her 'Mam'. But after she starts talking about her brother's book, "Lost My Lonely Way", she begins to be a bit racist because she believes that being a black people is a big humiliation and a burden according to that book. We are saying that Mrs Carter being a racist because when Mama asked Mrs Carter to help Florence to become a well-known actress, in the beginning it seems like she is going to help her but at the end the job that she is saying about is to become a maid. Indirectly, it  shows that she is trying to say that black people suits that profession.

No, because she tried to make Florence as a maid although she knows Florence wants to become a well-known actress.

7. What causes Mama to disagree with Mrs. Carter about her brother's book? What does this disagreement tell the audience about both characters?

She disagree with Mrs.Carter because she thinks that the main character in the book was not supposed to commit suicide just because she ashamed of her skin color. She mentioned her cousin who is not ashamed being a black and worked in a shoe store. He never once wanted to kill himself. 

Both characters are determined to defend their own race. Mrs. Carter thinks that being black is a humiliation while Mrs. Whitney thinks the other way round. Mrs. Whitney defends her opinion that there is nothing to embarrass about being black.

8. Does Mama's view of Mrs. Carter change or remain the same as the plot develops? What does she learn that causes her to reject the "help" that Mrs. Carter offers?

·     Mama’s view of Mrs Carter change as the plot develops. This is because Mama thought that Mrs Carter will help her daughter to achieve her dream to become an aspiring actress. Mama asked Mrs Carter to help Florence because she knew Magma Rugby, a director who can help Florence to achieve her dream. Mrs Carter told Mama that, Magma always helps people who in need and this will be a great opportunity for Florence to develop her acting skill. But, when Mrs Carter said that Florence will be doing some light cleaning and a little cooking, Mama rejected Mrs Carter’s help because Mama knew Florence’s ability in acting and do not want Florence to do things that will destroy her dreams. 

    She learns that Mrs Carter is still being racist even though she spoke to Mama nicely. Mrs Carter still offered the lowest job to Florence even though she had heard from Mama on how good Florence was in acting.

9. What is Mama's opinion of her daughter at the beginning of the play? How does this view change by the end? In what way is Mrs. Carter responsible for this change?

·     In the beginning of the story, Mama wants to go to New York to bring Florence back. Mama does not want Florence suffered to find some money in New York. Florence wrote a letter telling that she does not have money to support herself. Marge, Florence’s sister also encourage Mama to bring Florence back because no other Black woman have a desire to be a successful actress except Florence. Marge also claimed that Florence will do not have any chance to be an actress. Mama was responsible to bring Florence back.         
      When Mama met Mrs Carter and asked for her help because Mrs Carter knew a great director, the chance for Florence to show her talent was wide open. 

      But Mrs Carter offered Florence the lowest job and made Mama disappointed. This is because Mama knew Florence ability in acting. She wanted Florence to succeed in her dream. This made Mama changed her mind to not bring Florence back but encourage Florence to pursue her dream to become a successful actress one day. She wanted Florence to prove that she can do it. Besides, Mama wrote a letter to Florence to encourage her to achieve her dream. She wrote “keep trying” to Florence in the letter.

    10. Although the play bears her name, Florence never appears on stage. In what sense is Florence nevertheless a character in the play? Why do you think Childress names the play for her?

·     Even though Florence never appears in the play, but she plays an important role. Mama has some argument with Mrs Carter because of Florence. Florence has made some ‘problems’ between Mama and Mrs Carter. Florence also made Mama want to come to New York. 

        In my opinion, Childress put ‘Florence’ as the title of the play because it symbolizes someone who dares to change her life. As we know, no other Black people want to change their life because of the Jim Crow law and their chance to develop themselves was so limited. But, Florence has a desire to be a successful actress and she really went to New York to make her dream comes true. She dares to take risks to achieve her dream. 

1   11. JOURNAL ENTRY Should Mama have confronted Mrs. Carter directly? What do you think would have happened had she done so?

    In my point of view, Mama has her right to do so because Mrs Carter seemed to humiliate Black community even though she was not a racist type of woman. Mrs Carter should not ask Florence to become a maid because she had heard Florence ability in acting from her mama. She should help Florence to develop her acting skill. 

      In the play, Mama didn’t confronted Mrs Carter because she doesn’t want bad things to happen. If Mama confronted Mrs Carter, the things will become so complicated and bad. Mama let this conversation fly over the time even though she really disappointed with Mrs Carter because she doesn’t help well. Besides, she offered Florence to become a maid even though she really knew that Florence wanted to become an actress.

      In my opinion, Mama should have confronted Mrs. Carter directly but by words, not action. This is because, during that time, black people are well noticed about the punishment that they will receive if they are being harsh to the white. 

      If she had done so, she might end up being jailed because her action to Mrs. Carter is probably against the law. However, by confronting Mrs. Carter, Mama might has change the view of the white people about the black people. Mrs. Carter probably would not look down at the black people anymore.
    In my point of view, Mama should not confront Mrs Carter directly, this is because during that time there is a Jim Crow law which is unfair to black people. Mama actions may cause her in difficulty.  I think Mama don't need too emotional by confronted Mrs Carter directly but Mama must wisely using her words to confront Mrs Carter. 

     Besides, if we are using words to confront with others it will make sense because through words we become more understand rather than action that might hurt and don't achieve any agreement.

F  Fatin

1   Mama should not confront Mrs. Carter directly. She is a black woman while Mrs. Carter is a white woman, means that Mrs. Carter’s race is more noble compared to Mama’s. If she confront directly, I think Mrs. Carter will take an action on her.

     12. CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE In an analysis of Alice Childress's work, Jeanne-Marie A. Miller says, "To Childress, however, the black woman is the most heroic figure to emerge in America." At the heart of Childress's plays, Miller notes, is an ordinary woman "whose life is uneventful until circumstances force her to rise to the fullness of her strength." According to Miller, "the black woman not only transcends her own predicaments but often functions as a catalyst for change in those whose lives she touches." How does Mama fit this characterization?

      Mama fits this characterization because Mama is the important role in the play. In the beginning of the play, she wanted to bring Florence back because she didn’t want Florence to suffer in New York. This is the prove that Mama loves her daughter very much. Even though she has no money to pay the rent, but she wanted to bring Florence back and change her daughter's life. She tried to make Florence’s life as good as well.
     When she met Mrs Carter, an English woman, she asked for her help because Mama saw a great opportunity for Florence. But, she disappointed with Mrs Carter because she ignored her request to see her daughter to become a successful actress. Apart from that, Mrs Carter also told  Mama about her brother’s book, “Lost My Lonely Way”. The book is about a Negro woman but she was in mixed blood so she looked more to white people. That woman commits suicide because she was confused of her identity. That makes Mama wanted Florence to prove to all people that she can be a successful actress if she have confidence towards it. Mama knew that her daughter has a talent to become an aspiring actress one day. That’s why Mama didn’t bring Florence back because she wanted Florence to change others' perspectives towards black people.
     The black woman not only transcends her own predicament but often functions as a catalyst for change in those whose lives she touches” –Miller
    That quote suits Mama's character because she is the main factor to make Florence as a successful actress. If Mama is still planning to bring Florence back, she is destroying her own daughter’s dream.

      Mama fit this characterization very well because she acts as a catalyst in her family. According to Miller, "The black woman not only transcends her own predicament but often functions as a catalyst for change in those whose lives she touches". Mama herself has a hard life in her hometown and she cannot pay the house rent. However, to avoid Florence suffered in New York, she used the money that she kept to pay for the house rent to buy train's ticket to New York. This shows that she transcends her own predicament. 
     Mama changed her daughter's life, Florence, by encouraging her to keep on pursuing her dream in becoming a well-known actress. She might also has changed Mrs. Carter views on black people. She said that being black is not a humiliation and people should not kill themselves just because of that. Some black people have proved themselves to the world that they are worth to be proud of. Everyone deserves chances to develop themselves. 

      Mama also taught us to be brave in giving our opinion. We should not let people's thought bring us down. Mama did not stay silent when Mrs. Carter comments about what black people should and should not be. She believes that everyone has their own ability.
     Mama suits well this characterization because she symbolized the strength of black woman to  become a back bone for her family. Although Mama herself faces with some difficulities but she manages to overcome the problems to give a convenient life for her family. For instance, she is willing to go to New York to meet Florence even though she is run out of money. 
     Then, at the end of the play Mama encourages Florence to proceed with her dream to become a main role in the play. This is shown that Mama starts to believe that black people also can successful but we must dare to take a challenge and start a step forward to it. What that I learnt from Mama is if we want to change other mind set of us we should show and prove to them about what we are saying. 
    In my view, to make Mrs Carter think out of her box about black people, Mama encourages Florence to achieve her dreams and prove to white people that black people also can be like white people even better.This is clearly shown that Mama is a catalyst of her family.

     Mama is such a strong person inside her. Maybe she looks weak from the outside but not from inside. Although most of white people look down on black people, but she, who is black, has no problem to face it. 
     For example, when Mrs. Carter mention about her brother’s book, she told about the heroine, Zelma who is black and commit suicide just because she cannot accept that she is Negro. When Mama heard this, she felt so disappointed and stood up and told Mrs. Carter that was not true. She never thinks of commit suicide just because she is black, and she knew she will never do that. Then, she mentioned about all the black people who she knows who are proud of being black. Here, it shows she is strong enough to face white people stereotype thinking about black people.  White people always think that black people feel so disappointed just because they are black.

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