English 260

Introduction to Literary Studies

Dr. Morillo

Interpreting Drama: Paper Assignment

4-5 full pages-standard margins, double spaced text

Due Monday, February 27, printed out on paper, in class

Option 1: In his theory of the drama in Three Uses of the Knife, David Mamet is quite opinionated about what drama is, what good drama is, and what bad drama is. According to his own definitions and standards, is his Oleanna a tragedy, a melodrama, or a problem play? Is it a good play? Justify your answer in an argument citing specific examples from the play.

Option 2: Choose any one idea from Three Uses of the Knife that you think is especially relevant to understanding Mametís Oleanna, and explain why it is so relevant and what it reveals about that play.


Option 3: Find a copy of the 1994 film of Oleanna (with William Macy as John;  North American Video, in Cameron Village has had it). Is the movie a successful representation of what you think is most important in the play? Construct an argument explaining why or why not.


  Give yourself time to draft and then revise the paper.

Feel free to discuss any proposed passage with me in person or via email.


Three Uses of the Knife: 10-minute writing quiz. Open book.

1.There are certian kinds of plays Mamet does not like. One is what he calls the "problem play." What does he say is wrong with problem plays?

2. Explain briefly how Mamet ties the idea of drama to either of these topics, your choice: a) psychology b) religion.