Oleanna Themes

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Sexual Harassment

"Oleanna" was written in the midst of the political correctness movement of the 1990s, and Mamet's play is clear commentary on the dangers of differing definitions of sexual harassment at the time. Common examples of the 1990s harassment movement include phrases like African-American replacing Black or African, gender neutrality in writing, and great concern about interpersonal behavior that could be construed as sexual in nature or intent. Mamet hoped "Oleanna" would highlight the absurdity of this movement through the relationship between his two extreme characters: John is completely insensitive to the dangers of political correctness and refuses to censor himself (either because of ego or because of ignorance). Carol, on the other hand, represents the absurd extremes of the movement: If taken to its logical extreme, this mandated sensitivity in language could become so invasive, so overpowering, that everyday interactions could be construed as sexual and could...

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This section contains 1,055 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Oleanna Study Guide
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