Introduction & Overview of The Great White Hope by Howard Sackler

Howard Sackler
This Study Guide consists of approximately 80 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Great White Hope.
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The Great White Hope Summary & Study Guide Description

The Great White Hope Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading and a Free Quiz on The Great White Hope by Howard Sackler.

The Great White Hope won three of the most important awards on Broadway—the Pulitzer Prize, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, and a Tony—a phenomenal achievement in the history of twentieth-century theatre. The play is based on the life of black boxer Jack Johnson. When white American fighters refused to compete with Johnson, he traveled to Australia and defeated Tommy Burns in 1908, becoming the first black Heavyweight Champion of the World. Sackler's work explores with deep consideration the consequences of Johnson's achievement in a climate of deep racial unrest.

Curiously, Sackler's original work was meant to be a musical, more lighthearted than tragic. He eventually abandoned his plans and completed the play in 1967. The Great White Hope opened in December of that year at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Although the work is fictional, many of the events of the play, such as Jack's arrest, actually happened to Johnson at some point in his life. Thematically, the play also explores, with depth, perceptiveness, and brutal honesty, the nature of racism and racial conflict in American society. The voices of Sackler's characters, black and white, offer a colorful collage of insights. In examining the motivations of these characters, the audience gains exposure to a wide range of perspectives and, by extension, a much greater understanding of the issues surrounding them.

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This section contains 223 words
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Drama for Students
The Great White Hope from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.