Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 291
The German silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) is one of the classic examples of expressionistic technique in film. Odd angles of vision, distorted sets, and hypnotic acting enhance the dream-like portrayal of insanity in this film.
The Hairy Ape (1922) is O’Neill’s most completely expressionistic play. Set initially on an ocean liner and focusing on the social snub felt by the brutish, below-deck worker, Yank, the play creates a nightmare atmosphere as Yank searches for a place where he can ‘‘belong.’’
All God’s Chillun Got Wings (1924) is another of O’Neill’s plays dealing with the black experience. The play caused a tremendous controversy because of the interracial kissing of a hand and the portrayal of an interracial marriage.
In the history of theatre, A Raisin in the Sun (1959) by Lorraine Hansberry is one of the most famous and commercially successful dramas focusing on black life. A poignant protest against racial injustice, the play features a black family and its attempt to rise into the middle class.
Funnyhouse of a Negro (1962) by Adrienne Kennedy is a one-act play that portrays the disturbed mind of a mulatto woman named Sarah as she contemplates suicide. Surreal, poetic, and mythic in its presentation, the play shows Sarah hallucinating and shifting between various alter egos—black and white, male and female—as she resists her Negro identity.
The Sound and the Fury (1929), a novel by William Faulkner, tells a story from the point of view of four different characters, revealing the mental process of each narrator along the way. One of the speakers is a mentally deficient young man named Benjamin.
Expressionism (1970), by John Willett, is a thorough examination of Expressionism in many different areas, including painting, drama, poetry, and film.
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