I’m working on a english discussion question and need a sample draft to help me learn.
Choose one Option below and make one post in response to the “Instructions” for that option (minimum 150 words).
Instructions: Identify a part of the play that you think is funny, or where you think Baker is trying to be funny. (Try to find a section that is related to gender.) Summarize and cite (w/ page number) that part of the play and explain: how it relates to gender if at all? Why do you think Baker asks that the actors be funny without making it obvious that they are trying to be funny, and how does this influence how we interpret the part of the play you have identified?
In Body Awareness, Jared’s passion and focus is dictionaries. He not only reads them, but he reads about them. In the following quotes, he tells Phyllis about the two different theories on how to write a dictionary:
“Prescriptivism is the dictionary telling you what the correct definition is. Even if people in the outside world use the word differently” (Baker 38).
“…[D]escriptivism says there shouldn’t be any editorial judgement. It says a dictionary should just record what people are saying and writing in the real world, no matter how weird it is. A descriptivist strives to be a Totally Neutral Observer” (Baker 38).
In this exercise, we’ll use this debate on how best to present definitions in a dictionary to how we define gender roles in society. For instance, a prescriptive view of gender might be that women should be the primary caregivers of children (i.e. the way things should be). A descriptive view would be that more and more men are playing larger role in raising children (i.e. the way things are).
Instructions: Identify a part of the play where a character exhibits a clear opinion on gender roles. Summarize and cite (w/ page number) that part of the play and explain whether you believe the character’s view is either a prescriptive or descriptive interpretation of gender. Can you provide any examples from outside the play that also illustrates this?o
At one point in Body Awareness, Joyce is talking about her son, Jared, with Frank Bonitatibus, the visiting artist for Body Awareness Week. She explains how Jared is on the autism spectrum and may have Asperger’s syndrome. She uses the psychological concept called “Theory of Mind (Links to an external site.)” to do this, which she describes this way: “It’s our ability to know that other people don’t know what we’re thinking…that we each have these independent mental states? People with Asperger’s have a hard time – ” (Baker 22).
Similar to prescriptivism vs. descriptivism, theory of mind may be a helpful way to interpret gender roles in the play. For instance, at one point Jared thinks he’s empathizing with Phyllis when he tells her, “It must be hard to not be that pretty anymore” (Baker 39). It is implied that Jared thinks Phyllis is no longer pretty, and since he believes it everyone must also believe it, too. He appears to have a hard time understanding that Phyllis may not not see herself this way, and that it might be insulting or hurtful to hear.
Instructions: Identify a part of the play where a character has a view of another character that is related to gender, but is having a hard time understanding that their view is not how that character views themselves. Summarize and cite (w/ page number) that part of the play and explain how gender influences how the one character sees the other? Can you provide any examples from outside the play that also illustrates this?
At the beginning of the play, the playwright, Annie Baker, provides this “Author’s Note”:
Body Awareness should be played as naturalistically (Links to an external site.) as possible. Forget that it’s a comedy (Links to an external site.). I’ve found that the play works best (and is actually funnier) when everything is played in earnest (Links to an external site.), and everyone stops worrying about getting the audience to laugh.
Feel free to draw out the pauses, and make them really agonizing.