Monday, February 23, 2009

Control in "Theater"

There are superficial roles of power and control in Toomer's "Theater," like the manager or the manager's brother (scout) versus the performers on stage. This is a binary of control v. controlled. John appears to be a dominant power in the theater as the manager's brother who is looking for outstanding performers. Dorris tries to cater to what John wants to see, and she feels like John is in control of her destiny as the middle man between her and Broadway. However, we know that what John was thinking in his head was the opposite. John was very attracted to Dorris, and was almost entranced by her for a short time, before he made a grab for control over himself again. He had to control himself from becoming too attracted to Dorris, so that he would not get too involved and give her too much effect on him. Both Dorris and John find themselves intensely attracted to eachother, which gives each one power over the other.

Another catch on the binary of control v. controlled is at the end. Dorris wants to impress John, I believe partially because she believes John is her key to making it to the next level (Broadway). In the end, I believe the image of John still sitting in the shadows means that John is not really in control either. So again the appearance of control v. controlled falls through, as John (the control) is under the control of other forces of control (race, social status, etc.).

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