What quotes in Oleanna express manipulation of power (student and professor in relation with man and woman, feminism) between Carol and John?

One quote in Oleanna that may express manipulation of power between Carol and John is when John tells Carol, “I was raised to think of myself as stupid.”

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One quote that might demonstrate manipulation of power between John and Carol is when John tells Carol, “I was raised to think of myself as stupid.” This might be John’s way of avoiding accountability for his actions. If John is in fact stupid, then it might make it easier to...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

One quote that might demonstrate manipulation of power between John and Carol is when John tells Carol, “I was raised to think of myself as stupid.” This might be John’s way of avoiding accountability for his actions. If John is in fact stupid, then it might make it easier to explain away the complaints Carol has lodged against him. John’s self-imputed stupidity might be his way of twisting, controlling, or manipulating the situation. If he’s stupid, he didn’t know he was making sexist remarks or behaving inappropriately; thus, it’s not his fault. In a sense, John is manipulating events to make it appear as if he’s the victim.

You might also want to discuss Carol’s manipulation of John. You should be able to locate several quotes in the third act that reflect Carol’s ability to control and twist events. As Carol tells John, “You have an agenda, we have an agenda.” Carol says she’ll withdraw her complaints if he chooses different books to teach. This quote shows that Carol has the skill to use her sexual misconduct charges as a way to gain influence. She wants the power to dictate John’s curriculum.

Carol’s willingness to recant her charges if John gives in to her demands seems to counter her claim that her charges aren’t “trivial.” While Carol’s conduct doesn’t excuse John’s conduct, Carol’s actions, too, appear tied to an alternate agenda or a type of manipulation.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on