Topics for Further Study

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Many critics of The Foreigner imply that the play has only ‘‘commercial’’ appeal, that it is not much different from the typical television sitcom. Compare Shue’s play with one or more of your favorite television sitcoms and argue for or against this assertion.

Some critics of The Foreigner claim that the play reduces southerners to ‘‘politically incorrect’’ stereotypes. Investigate the way southerners are portrayed in both serious literature and in popular entertainment, comparing these treatments with Shue’s portrayal of Betty, Catherine, Ellard, David Lee, and Owen.

Research the history of the Ku Klux Klan in America and describe in detail the status and activity of the Klan in America in the early- 1980s.

Klanwatch, a branch of the Southern Poverty Law Center, has monitored Klan and other hate group activity since 1981. By the late-1990s, Klanwatch was aware of over 400 racist and neo- Nazi hate groups in America as well as 500 ‘‘militia’’ groups. Research this explosion of hate-group activities in America in the latter half of the twentieth century and discuss whether a comedy like The Foreigner can hope to ameliorate such a social problem.

Research the psychological condition of shyness, bashfulness, or timidity. What causes it in real life? How does overcoming real-life shyness compare with Charlie’s triumph over shyness in The Foreigner?

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