Oleanna were an act of defense. The

Oleanna by David Mamet AnalysisOleanna is a play that expresses the destructiveness of miscommunication through its two protagonists. Furthermore, the two-character drama explores the issue of political correctness, student-teacher relationships, academic politics and sexual harassment. Therefore, Mamet uses the two characters to divide the audience based on the sides in the case of sexual harassment. Precisely, the play is about Carol, the female student, who accuses her professor, John, of sexual indecency. The author uses the theme of sexual harassment to create two sides that determine the stand of the audiences. For example, there is one side that believes that the charges against John were just a tool used by most women to gain power. On the other hand, the other side perceives the issue of sexual harassment in the play as violation of women rights and the charges were an act of defense. The play starts with Carol visiting John in his office with an objection that is not clear until the second scene. Carol tries to seek help from her professor after receiving poor grades on the last paper. However, she pleads John to help her severally without succeeding. Through this begging, John becomes sympathetic and at an incident, he puts his hand around Carol’s shoulder. In this scene, it is evident that John is in control and has power particularly to decide whether or not to help Carol. In the next scene, the balance of power between the two characters had already started to shift. Carol had accused John of sexual harassment in an incident that occurred earlier. Here, John was calm as he tried to placate Carol about the event with a condescending tone. On the other hand, Carol appears perfectly dressed and talks with a commanding language. As Johns continues to dissuade her, he grabs her arm yet again in order to seek her attention. This time, Carol screams at him indicating that she has already made her decision. In the third scene, Carol appears to be ready to file the sexual harassment charges and John is evidently disheveled. She is dressed nearly like a man and her command of the language is perfect. The objective that Carol had in the first place is exhibited when she offers to drop the charges on certain conditions. These terms includes removing some books in the lesson plan especially his own text. John becomes furious and starts to attack Carol by beating her. However, he stops short while holding a chair over her and decides to calm down. Mamet decides not to ruin the ending for the reader but leaving it at a point where the audience can decide what happened next. Therefore, it is evident that the argument of the author in this play is that although sexual harassment is prevalent in schools, sometimes it is fabrication by women who want to gain power. Usually, the teacher-student relationship is misunderstood and teachers end up being victims of sexual harassment charges inoffensively. Thus, it is undeniable that the academic politics contribute significantly to the fabrication of sexual impropriety accusations. Furthermore, falsehood might not be the only factor in this subject. As a matter of fact, miscommunication can be regarded as the cause of these accusations although it is not depicted clearly in Oleanna.Citing from Payne’s model of teacher-to-student sexual harassment, Wetzel and Nina (53) assert that this impropriety is school is somehow associated with power, myths about one’s gender, and miscommunication. According to this theory, sexual harassment or the accusations are associated with the power contest among the partners (Wetzel , 53). Therefore, if the victims fail to understand what is happening, the incident of sexual harassment prevails. This means that one of the players might take the advantage of the situation and create the sexual harassment incident in order to have power over the other victim. On the other hand, miscommunication transpires when the beliefs about the sharing of power between men and women intersects in an incident (Wetzel , 54). Thus, citing from the fact that most myths show men express more power than women, females tend to make decisions about the action taken by males during the alleged harassment event. This is whatMamet proves in his play. In the prologue, John was sympathetically holding Carol without any sexual intention. In the contest for power, Carol decides to fabricate and accuse John of sexual impropriety. As indicated by Wetzel and Nina (54), the social judgment-involvement theory provides that the sense of powerlessness is one of the major factors that perpetrate sexual harassment allegations. This is true especially when it becomes clear that Carol wanted to control John towards removing some books in his lesson plan. She knew that John had power over her because he was her professor. However, before Carol’sintentions are depicted in the last scene, it can be argued that the sexual harassment allegations were as a result of miscommunication. According to Lindgren et al (491), there are robust gender disparities that determine the perception of another person’s sexual intentions. In most cases, men perceive women’s conductas more sexual than women really intended and this is the main factor behind numerous incidents of sexual assault particularly in schools. On the other hand, it appears that women are aware of the misinterpretation of men on the sexual intentions. Therefore, it is easy to fabricate the sexual harassment incidentbecause men mostly engage in controversial behaviors. Furthermore, Lindgren et al (491) infers that gender difference is accompanied by differences in communication and sexual interest. This means that men communicate in different ways compared to women. For instance, in the play, John held Carol’s hand as a sympathetic act without any sexual intention. Therefore, due to the different in sexual interest perception, Carol thought that her professor was acting sexually. The author indicates clearly that John was holding her hand sympathetically and not as Carol thought. Furthermore, Lindgren et al (492) states that the transition from high school to college creates sensitivity to sexual behaviors. Precisely, the transition increases the chances of engaging in sexual behaviors. Therefore, applying the theory to Carol’s behavior, it can be argued that she was quite sensitive to any act that can be associated with sexual behavior. Thus, when John held her hand, she was quick to think that he had sexual intentions. This means that the miscommunication was faulty based on the transition experience by Carol. Generally, the gender difference perpetrated the miscommunication and misperception of the incident which resulted to sexual assault allegations. The theory expressed by Lindgren et al (492) proves that in some cases, sexual harassment accusations are as a result of miscommunication. According to McLaughlin, Uggen and Blackstone (625), power is the main factor in feminist theories if sexual harassment. As a matter of fact, men in power tend to sexually assault women who have less power. In the contemporary world, sexual harassment is also targeted to women in authority. For example, Oleanna was published in the era when Anita Hill had accused Clarence Thomas, the U.S. Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault. Hill was working in the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and yet she was sexually harassed. Therefore, McLaughlin, Uggen and Blackstone (625) state that men and women compete for power and each party can do whatever it takes to gain power. Furthermore, women believe that successful men most probably engage in sexually assaulting activities. Therefore, in order to gain the power, it is factual that women can fabricate is issue because they are aware that the society will believe that. Although there is no direct measure of power in places such as schools or workplaces, it is factual that control over anindividual might result to the allegations. The control that John had over Carol’s issue perpetrated the accusations that she made in order to gain power. Hanke et al (276) argue that teachers are the role models to students but in some cases, they exhibit unprofessional behavior. In the medical class, misconduct in the teacher-student relationship which includes sexual assault is quite prevalent. The authors argue that many students are dependent on their teachers for academic knowledge and understanding. This is evident in the Oleanna particularly when Carol came to her professor after she received poor grades on the last paper. As a result, Hanke et al (276) advice that an effective way to mitigate incidences of misconduct is to determine the behaviors that are regarded as sexually assaulting in teacher-student encounters. According to the research, sexual assault is mostly reported by female students. This means that teachers are mostly on the accused side of the misconduct. Furthermore, the victims exhibit diminished interest for their studies and lower self-esteem. This means that there are high chances of misinterpretation of any conduct by the teacher. This is the reason why the authors propose that it is quite important for the teachers to monitor their behavior in order to mitigate the issue. Furthermore, the study by Hanke et al (276) indicated that large number of sexual harassment incidents is resulted by unprofessional behavior by the teachers. A good example of this is John’s behavior when he sympathetically touched Carol’s hand. Therefore, teachers should maintain high ethical and professional standards especially during their relations with the students. ConclusionAs exhibited by Mamet in his play, some sexual harassment accusations are fabricated by women craving for power. However, it is also evident that the allegations might be as a result of miscommunication between the victims. This is proved by the fact that John had no sexual intentions when he held Carol’s hand which means that the accusations were faulty. This is supported by different authors such as Wetzel and Nina who cite from Payne’s model of teacher-to-student sexual harassment and the social judgment-involvement theory to portray that the sense of powerlessness determine the sexual assault allegations. Generally, it is factual that if the victim of sexual harassment is not physically assaulted, it is possible that the incident was fabricated or associated with miscommunication.  


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