Irony In Loften Mitchell's The Phonograph

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University players recently presented a play titled “The Phonograph” by Loften Mitchell. This play was first introduced in New York in 1961 and tells the story of a young African American couple, raising their family in 1930’s Harlem. The family is an average family struggling to keep themselves afloat and keep their children educated. It is evident they want more for their children then what they themselves had. There is a great deal of irony in this story between the characters themselves, as well as in the social commentary. In watching the play one of the first ironic points I was made aware of is when the older or present day, Paulette Kellogg, comes to the stage and sits down to talk about how she is now in charge of covering stories…show more content…
She loves to listen to music, sit in on the grown-ups conversation and be where the action is. Billy Jean is first saw as having very poor eye sight. However this young lady is still determined to fight and live like anyone else, without asking for special treatment or like a baby. However, through the story we find out that Billy Jean is legally blind and will never see again. After telling her parents, the decision is made to send Billy Jean away to a special school where she can learn how to read and write. I find this ironic for two reasons. One is that the most vibrant of the characters with the most sparkle and zest is in fact the one that can not see. Billy Jean sees more within her family then her actually visual family members do. Also I find it ironic that it isn’t until after she is fully diagnosed that her family wants to send her away for an education to a special school. It is almost as if saying now that she has a label we must label her and send her away where they can help her. I can’t help but wonder if her own family could have helped her just the same, especially since they had already been doing so. One could pick out many other instances of irony in this story; however I don’t want to give everything away. This was a wonderfully performed and put together work, one that definitely needed to be relived and who better then our very own

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