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Note the behaviors of John and Carol—what strikes you as good and bad behavior from John as a teacher and Carol as a student? Who is more right in this scene, and why? Does the “wrong” character have a point? Do the characters share fault? Explain.
Topics to cover:
1. Note the behaviors of John and Carol—what strikes you as good and bad behavior from John as a teacher and Carol as a student? Who is more right in this scene, and why? Does the “wrong” character have a point? Do the characters share fault? Explain.
2. Describe the characters’ gestures, dress, posture, and speech. How do they relate to each other verbally and physically?
1. How do the characters change in gesture, dress, posture, and speech? Has your opinion of “right” and “wrong” behavior shifted since Act One and, if so, how?
2. What should have happened after Act One? How could this conflict be properly resolved?
3. Diagnose the breakdown in communication. Why can’t these characters hear each other? Are they really listening?
1. How do the characters change in gesture, dress, posture, and speech? Has your opinion of “right” and “wrong” behavior shifted since Act Two and, if so, how?
2. What should have happened after Act Two?
3. Are John’s ultimate actions—however understandable—defensible in any way?
Additional information to highlight:
Is this a case of sexual harassment?
Consider: Is this, simply, a clear-cut case of sexual harassment? 1) Can sexual harassment exist without intent?
If John had no sexual agenda with Carol, can we fairly say he sexually harassed her? Can Carol be wrong in her perception of harassment if she genuinely felt harassed?
2) Might John’s harassment, if not conscious, be unconscious mistreatment which nevertheless belittles Carol? Does our society unconsciously (and consciously) belittle women, and might
that in any way mitigate John’s guilt, if any?
3) What precedent, if any, do we have to address this question?
ISSUE 2: Does John deserve tenure (and with it, a new house)?
Consider: Is John a good teacher who behaves appropriately, from the evidence we have? 1) For what stated reasons is tenure typically granted? Does John apparently fit these criteria?2) Does the punishment of losing tenure, house, or job fit John’s crime(s), if any?
3) Are John’s motives as a teacher apparently pure, or motivated by his own psychological,
intellectual, and financial needs?
ISSUE 3: Who first “crosses the line” of appropriate behavior? And, all things considered, whose fault is this “tragedy”?
Consider: 1) Should Carol, in fact, be punished for her behavior? Is she appropriate and fair-minded in herinitial requests of her teacher, and later, in dealing with her claims of harassment? 2) Harassment or no, does John get too personal with this student? 3) Given the initial conflict(s), what does one or the other do to escalate the situation, and can
these actions be excused?