Summary

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 205

The Colored Museum by George C. Wolfe focuses on black Americans. The play deconstructs several black stereotypes. Wolfe uses a satirical approach in defining the meaning of being black in the United States. Eleven different scenes are revealed in the play, each with different characters. Every scene addresses the history of African Americans from the time they came into the US as slaves up to the 1980s. The scenes are depicted as “exhibits,” and each one has a different timeline.

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In the first scene, called “Git on Board,” the main character is Miss Pat. She is a cabin crew member of Celebrity Slave Ship. She prepares those on board for their trip and advises them on how to put on their shackles. Another sketch in the play is “The Last Mama-on-the-Couch Play.” It features a Christian woman and her bitter son. Through these scenes, the author reveals the inanity of different stereotypes against black Americans in a satirical manner.

The characters in the play address the various issues that African Americans face. They highlight their pain and struggles in trying to find their identity. Despite being a humorous play, The Colored Museum also highlights the harsh realities of racism and the long-lasting effects of slavery.

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Themes