Funnyhouse of a Negro

by Adrienne Kennedy

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Topics for Further Study

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• Research the Civil Rights movement of the early 1960s, in particular the effects of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. How do you think this movement impacted the lives of middle-class African Americans like Sarah?

• Review psychological writings on the children of interracial marriages. Discuss Sarah’s identity crisis, self-hatred, and subsequent suicide in light of your findings. Has society changed? Would Sarah feel this way today?

• The character of Sarah feels alienated from both her African-American heritage and white heritage. Write an essay discussing your own heritage and what it means to you. Does it help define who you are? What else defines you as a person?

• Compare and contrast the character of Sarah with Clara from Kennedy’s 1965 play The Owl Answers. Clara undergoes a similar racial identity crisis, which also involves historical figures. Why did Kennedy pick these specific people— what do they represent? What do the historical figures say about Sarah and Clara’s individual crises?

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