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Modern myth-making in selected works of Sam Shepard and Marsha Norman

by Dolmage, Bonita Valerie

Abstract (Summary)
. * odern M- in Selected Works of Sa- M e Nor- is an in-depth Gterary analysis of how biblical and classical myths are used in six plays. Shepard's plays J3u.ried Chu, Curse of the S t a e , and T w West and Norman's plays Gettin~ O uf, d t . Mother, and Sarah and Abraham are J - the six phys under study. Norman and Shepard have engaged, perhaps even more than they are consciously aware, in the transformation of biblical and classicd myths in these six plays. Through their own myth-making, both playwrights expose the impact various myths have on the lives of everyday men and women in their search for the unconscious seff, a search which beginç with "the study of our primal myths" (Niditch 1). The misapplication of biblical myths to present-day sociew, particularly to women, is of prime importance and especidy in Norman's play, Çettine: Out. The colliding worlds of upper and lower classes are considered in relation to the confiïcting worlds of family members, with one another and with their societies at large. As suggested by Northrop Frye, the real interest of myth is achieved by " drawing a circumference" around the families in these plays and "looking inward" toward relationships between the women, men, and children and how they are ruled by, attempt to escape from, or cope with the world around them. This thesis invites the reader to engage in the process of philosophical hermeneutics, a process through which self-understanding should occur, as weIl as a greater understanding of these plays. Finally, the degree to which the individu& in the plays determine their own fates and the effect their birthrights and societies ultimately have on their ability to transcend their situations is considered and could be explored further in future studies.
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/2001

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