Topdog Play Study

So this week, we studied the playwright Suzan Lori Parks and her award winning play Topdog/UnderDog. In her play, she sets up a very tragic world of two African American brothers living in a small room in a large urban city. These two brothers are named Lincoln and Booth – named that as a joke from their parents. But the author hides many elements of symbolism in the play. I believe she is making many statements about racism in America through the strange symbols within the play. Even the names of the characters are symbolic. For your discussion topic this week, I want you to think about the concept of “inheritance” and what African American men may have “inherited” symbolically and literally in America. Ask yourself: Can a race of people inherit things from the past? Is that the reason that Parks names her characters Lincoln and Booth, for symbolic reasons? Can the cycles of racism be broken so easily? These are deep questions and symbols the writer hides within her play about two brothers. And I want you to be candid, honest, and thoughtful in your response about what you think could be symbolically hidden within this play. You may also speak about any other elements you see in the play that excite you. And why you think those elements could be important. It may help you to review the Powerpoint on TopDog. Please write for me a 10 sentence or more discussion response on these issues and questions of race in America and how Topdog may be speaking about something much deeper than just two random brothers in an apartment. How does this play address issues of race and African American men? In your discussion post, please make sure you ADDRESS the concept of the “inheritance” and what you think black men in America could have inherited from our culture. You must also use ONE QUOTE FROM THE PLAY which may help you discuss inheritance.

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