Cripple Inishmaan Essay

Cripple Inishmaan Essay-67
Billy plays his trump and presents a letter, purportedly from the local doctor, a letter that indicates that Billy is dying of tuberculosis. So sweet Pea has to give up her own baby for her Mama to raise. However, Belita Moreno, the actress who played Popeye in the original production, claims that the story is true and that she had shared it with Henley: "It is an odd story but my mother and I had actually attended their wedding years before…This is an example of how Beth brings to her plays real events that might seem impossible but are based in truth.Bobby, who recently lost his wife to TB, falls for the ruse and agrees to take Billy along. In my opinion, it is what makes her plays so strong and yet so fragile.As this admittedly abbreviated plot synopsis indicates, Billy is hardly the Saintly Cripple. There is no attempt to analyze causality until the final sentence: "So folks was calling me Popeye." This flattened rendering of catastrophe occurs often in Henley's dramaturgy, and it lures less perceptive audiences into believing that nothing is really wrong despite evidence to the contrary. [T]he stories describing how they were tattooed consisted of tattoo rape.

Billy plays his trump and presents a letter, purportedly from the local doctor, a letter that indicates that Billy is dying of tuberculosis. So sweet Pea has to give up her own baby for her Mama to raise. However, Belita Moreno, the actress who played Popeye in the original production, claims that the story is true and that she had shared it with Henley: "It is an odd story but my mother and I had actually attended their wedding years before…This is an example of how Beth brings to her plays real events that might seem impossible but are based in truth.Bobby, who recently lost his wife to TB, falls for the ruse and agrees to take Billy along. In my opinion, it is what makes her plays so strong and yet so fragile.As this admittedly abbreviated plot synopsis indicates, Billy is hardly the Saintly Cripple. There is no attempt to analyze causality until the final sentence: "So folks was calling me Popeye." This flattened rendering of catastrophe occurs often in Henley's dramaturgy, and it lures less perceptive audiences into believing that nothing is really wrong despite evidence to the contrary. [T]he stories describing how they were tattooed consisted of tattoo rape.

At this point, Billy disappears from the play for quite some time. The simple, painful truth in Beth's plays is the key to entering her world" (Henley, xi).

His two foster aunts, who worry and grieve for him daily, eventually get word that he has been transported to America to undergo a screen test for a film that includes a minor role for "a cripple fella." A few scenes later, we see Billy languishing in "a squalid Hollywood hotel room" (74). At this point, the audience is sure that Billy is a goner. Although Henley relies heavily on reportage in order to introduce the theme of disability into her plays, she also peoples her work with characters who are visibly and non-visibly disabled.

It is a genre that discovers humor in pain, suffering, and even terror.

An edgy, disquieting mode, it has no truck at all with decorum or sentiment.

Trading on the fact that he has a slight wheeze, he plays on the sympathies of "Babbybobby," a boatman who has agreed to ferry the others. For example, Carnelle Scott of The Miss Firecracker Contest renders a lurid account of the final days of her Aunt Ronelle: …[S]he had this cancer of the pituitary gland, I believe it was; so what they did was they replaced her gland with the gland of a monkey to see if they could save her life… She, well, she started growing long, black hairs all over her body, just, well, just like an ape…But she was so brave. (Henley, I once knew these two midgets by the name of Sweet Pea and Willas.

At first, Bobby refuses, telling Billy that "A cripple fella's bad luck in a boat" (35). I went to their wedding and they was the only midgets there. But they was so happy together and they moved into a midget house…Then Sweet Pea got pregnant and later on she had what they call this Cesarean birth…Well, come to find out, the baby is a regular-size child and soon that baby is just too large for Sweet Pea to carry around and too large for all a' that mite-sized furniture. (Henley, The allusion to the story of "Sweet Pea" as told by "Popeye" again invokes the violent fantasy world of the cartoon.On the other hand, Billy's screen test did not betoken great acting talent. We-el I disagree with you there, but you've got me Fripple- Frapples so I won't argue the point. Like Mac Sam, Bess has no desire to be "cured." Fifteen years later, it is Macon's face which has been scarred by "some syphilitic disease" which has "broken out all over her face" (Henley, 51).Yet again, on the other hand, as Billy reasonably points out, who could do much with such a dreadful script? As my quick survey of some of Henley's work demonstrates, Henley's figurations of disability, like those of Mc Donagh, are neither sentimental nor reassuring to normate audiences.The only scene in which he appears to be isolated is his screen test scene. Now you go and give 'em the real factualized version. People'll get up and get outta their homes and come… I see how it haunts you how ya can't compare t' me.does bear witness to the fact that in the history of American film, disabled actors were rarely cast: the able-bodied American boy wins the role of disabled Irishman. To Bess Johnson, the woman who survived five years of Indian captivity" (Henley, II 47).The year is 1934, and news has spread among the scant population that a famous American film director has come to one of the Islands to shoot a documentary about rural life on the Arans. For her, the act of staring at an image of physical disability is an act of fury and defiance in the face of a cosmos that allows such pain and injustice.More significant to Billy is that the director is willing to cast talented locals for bit parts in the film. Babe believes that Meg was "afraid of being a weak person" (Henley, I had one hell of a time over Christmas… I went insane…I couldn't sing anymore, so I lost my job…And I had a bad toothache…Now the off-stage audience realizes that the squalid Hollywood hotel room was actually the set for Billy's screen test: "To tell you the truth," he tells the others, "it wasn't an awful big thing at all to turn down Hollywood, with the arse-faced lines they had me reading for them… As things turn out, the deception of Bobby is not the limit of Cripple Billy's fabrications. Josephine Hendin, writing on Flannery O'Connor (a writer to whom Henley has often been compared) observes that O'Connor, in her personal letters, "joked about" lupus, the disease that was slowly killing her (9). Dying of syphilis, tuberculosis, and alcoholism, Mac Sam's interest in his own illness is purely aesthetic.Billy later tells Bobby the truth about his Hollywood misadventure: "…they didn't want me. Sue Walker, however, believes that O'Connor's "bantering" did not "conceal" but rather "heighten[ed] the impact of strategic words" (40). "Look at that clot [of blood] there," he invites Carnelle, "It's a nice pinkish-reddish sorta color" (189).Mc Donagh's subversion of this stereotype precludes any such mawkish sentiment. These stories of accident and impairment erupt spontaneously with seeming casualness yet remarkable regularity into the conversations of Henley characters. Bess is taken under the wing of an entrepreneur who shrewdly packages her for public display. Prior to her capture, the most pitiable figure in the play, she now becomes the most powerful. As Braunberger points out, "In contrast to their stories of victimization, women who made their living off their tattoos had more independence, money, and opportunity for travel than were otherwise available to women…In effect, their tattoos and the tales they told about them spoke one reality while they experienced quite another" (10--11).Billy …is capable of giving back insult for insult; he manipulates Babbybobby's mourning for his dead wife; and he abandons his kindly adoptive aunts with no consideration for their feelings" (Foster 9). The narratives interrupt so frequently as to form a subsidiary text of their own, a running gloss that comes to assume an urgent authority, this despite the fact that they are just enough over the top to sound like so many tall tales. Macon points out the theatrical power differential between mere stories and ocular evidence.

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