Sweat by Lynn Nottage

 Description First paragraph: What do you think this play achieves? Do not focus on quality judgments–avoid words like “masterpiece” or “groundbreaking,” and do not tell me whether you liked the play or not. The purpose of analysis is not to judge a play as good or bad, but to understand it. Focus instead on the author’s “aesthetic intent,” as your book describes. What do you think the playwright hoped to achieve by combining this issue with this style? Within this paragraph–preferably at the beginning or the end–you will need to introduce your thesis statement for the paper as a whole. Second paragraph: How is this play a contemporary example of Realism? Use the criteria for Realism established in your textbook to frame your answer. (Be aware that if you draw on other unsourced definitions of realism, you will lose significant points). Relate those criteria to how Nottage created this play. Third and Fourth Paragraphs: pick two characters from the play and analyze their motivations from an ethical point of view. What moral foundations influence their actions? How do they present their point of view to one another when they disagree? That is, do they appeal to loyalty, to fairness, to the harm principle, etc.? Where do you see their stated ethical commitments at odds with their actions?, you focus one paragraph each around the characters you are analyzing. You should be drawing directly on quotations and specific examples from the play. Because this play is a course text, you do not need a Works Cited list; however, when you quote from the play itself, you should include a page number in parentheses at the end of the quotation. Fifth Paragraph: This paragraph is your conclusion. You should focus it on the questions you have raised throughout the paper and how they support or complicate your thesis. A productive avenue here might be to consider whether or not you think Nottage’s play is successful in achieving her aesthetic intent. Remember that this is still not a judgment of whether the play is “good” or “bad,” but is instead an opportunity to analyze your own response to the play as a reader and to assess to what degree that matches Nottage’s intent.

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