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The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail Short Essay - Answer Key

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Short Essay Questions Key

1. What is the set for this play?

Aside from this jail cell set the rest of the stage is bare and will be changed throughout the play with minor props and lighting that will be used to suggest shifts in time and location. The play is set in Concord, Massachusetts.

2. What is the lighting like at the beginning of the first scene?

The first lighting cue has moonlight falling on the sleeping form of Henry (Henry David Thoreau), while the other prisoner is in shadow. The lighting on the empty areas of the set is weak to suggest winter.

3. How do Henry's mother and brother say about him?

His mother tells him she does not know who he is. His mother and brother John then discuss the fact that Henry does not do what society expects of him.

4. What is evidence that Henry's thoughts might seem backwards?

Henry's mother then upbraids him for actively trying to do things backwards. Henry replies that he likes the way the alphabet sounds and feels when read backwards, and that things should be mixed up to make the alphabet less linear and more human.

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