Cover image for Thematic guide to modern drama
Thematic guide to modern drama
Abbotson, Susan C. W., 1961-
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xi, 292 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1861 .A235 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



The uniquely thematic approach of this resource will help teachers and librarians identify pertinent works of modern drama for students, and will enhance readers' understanding of these works. Organized alphabetically around 33 themes, each chapter presents an engaging essay exploring different perspectives of the theme in three representative plays. Readers will encounter themes of historical significance such as the heritage of slavery and the Holocaust, as well as timeless themes such as betrayal and guilt, growing up, and ambition and fame.

Ninety-nine plays are discussed, covering a broad range of works spanning more than a hundred years by such playwrights as George Bernard Shaw, Clifford Odets, and Henrik Ibsen, as well as more contemporary works by playwrights like David Mamet and Neil Simon. The selection of surveyed plays includes many of the canonical works most frequently assigned to students, such as Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. Varied cultural perspectives are offered through chapters devoted to the experiences of African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Jewish Americans, and Latino Americans.^LThis resource will be helpful to librarians identifying dramatic works of related themes, and to educators developing thematic units for the classroom. Students are encouraged to compare and contrast themes in works from different playwrights and time periods. An index allows users to search for works by title or author.

Author Notes

SUSAN C. W. ABBOTSON has taught English for over 15 years, both at the high school and university levels. She currently teaches in the English Department of Rhode Island College. She is author of Student Companion to Arthur Miller (Greenwood, 2000) and co-author of Understanding Death of a Salesman (Greenwood, 1999). She also contributed the drama section of Resources for Teaching: Literature and Its Writers .

Table of Contents

Introductionp. ix
Absurdity of Lifep. 1
African American Experiencep. 9
Agingp. 17
Ambition and Famep. 25
American Indian Experiencep. 33
Asian American Experiencep. 41
Betrayal and Guiltp. 49
Courtshipp. 57
Deathp. 65
Decisions and Life Choicesp. 73
Growing Upp. 81
The Heritage of Slaveryp. 89
Historical Heritagep. 97
The Holocaustp. 107
Illness and Disabilityp. 117
International Cultural Communitiesp. 127
Issues of Sexualityp. 137
Jewish American Experiencep. 145
Latin American Experiencep. 153
Law and Justicep. 163
The "Life-Lie"p. 173
Magic and the Supernaturalp. 183
Marriagep. 191
Parents and Childrenp. 199
Religion (Christianity)p. 207
A Sense of Communityp. 215
Sibling Relationshipsp. 223
Substance Abusep. 233
War and Violencep. 241
Women's Issues--Currentp. 251
Women's Issues--Pastp. 259
Workp. 267
Worlds of the Deaf and Blindp. 275
Indexp. 283