Discuss David Mamet's presentation of power in the teacher/student relationship in Oleanna.

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grimmgirl eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Oleanna, David Mamet presents power in the teacher/student relationship in a couple of ways. At first, it seems as though the professor, John, has all of the power in the situation. He admits that he enjoys "strutting" in front of the classroom, and that it makes him feel powerful. This power is patriarchal in that he feels fatherly toward his students, and in many ways he also condescends to them. The power shifts in the play, however, when Carol complains about John's behavior to the tenure committee. Whether all her claims are legitimate or not, she represents the power of her feminist "group" that will no longer stand for the sexist power plays that John exhibits in the classroom.

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