Who is John from Oleanna and what is their importance?

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John is one of the two main characters in the play. He is given no physical description and is simply listed in the character list as "a man in his forties." From the dialogue in the play, readers are able to discern a bit more about him. He is a professor teaching at a well-respected university. He doesn't adhere to traditional professor-student relationships and enjoys employing a "free thinking" environment in his classrooms. At the opening of the play, John lives in relative security: he is in the process of buying a new house in a middle-class neighborhood, enjoys a well-paying job (at which he is about to receive tenure), is white, well educated, and academically respected. This position makes him somewhat pompous and condescending, but he is good at heart. He seems genuinely concerned with awakening curiosity in his students and enjoys sharing his viewpoints with them. John's actions throughout the play are somewhat questionable: he may be inherently oppressive and may every sexually harass Carol, but he is a likeable character because he is open and honest with his emotions. He is genuinely confused and concerned by Carol's complaints. He honestly explains his motivations, desires, and passions hoping they will portray him as human rather than as a symbol for elitist power. Through the process of opening up to Carol - honestly describing his hopes, dreams, and fears for the future - John's character transitions from a somewhat vain self-righteousness to humble modesty. By the end of the play, John has been stripped of everything he values - his job, his home, and perhaps even his family - as a result of Carol's absurd quest for political correctness.