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인간이기를 사과해야 하는 사회 - 루이스 피터슨의 『큰 걸음』
A Society Which Forces an Apology for Being a Man: Louis Peterson's Take a Giant Step

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    Assuming what Terry Eagleton termed a pragmatist approach, I attempt to identify some of political, social, and cultural forces that meet in an African American text, Louis Peterson's Take a Giant Step (1953). The 1950s, the decade in which Take a Giant Step was written and produced, witnessed an optimistic expectation of the end of racial hierarchy. The optimism ushered in by the Federal Government's legal measures influenced African American writers, leading them to take a unique but precarious strategy, that is, as Helene Keyssar observed in The Curtain and the Veil (1981), “to demonstrate the basic likeness of all people while protesting the specific ways in which possibility had been limited and harmony prevented.” In writing Take a Giant Step, Peterson adopted the strategy. He arranged two different but related issues, particular/racial and universal/adolescent ones, in such a way that the universal outshines the particular. When the play opened on Broadway, most white critics acclaimed it on the basis of its universality. Despite such a critical acclaim, the Broadway production failed. A reason for the failure, I believe, lies in the fact that Peterson revealed, perhaps unwittingly, the anger that is carefully covered up with the compromising appearance of the Scott family in the play. The anger has a potential power to overthrow the white dominance itself; it must have made the (white) Broadway audience feel anxiety and fear. Its price was the failure of the play on Broadway.


  • 주제어

    African American drama .   racial hierarchy .   middle class .   adaptive inferiority .   dramatic strategy.  

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