The Kentucky Cycle

by Robert Schenkkan

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Topics for Further Study

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Research the European settlement of Kentucky during the late eighteenth century. Compare the historical accounts to the events in the first two plays in The Kentucky Cycle.

How does strip-mining work? Why would stripmining and the condition of mine workers in the 1920s cause them to want to unionize?

How do the Rowens, specifically Michael, Patrick, Jed, and Mary Anne, display the ideas of the American Dream?

After researching the environmental damage done by strip-mining, explain why Joshua feels the joy he does when he sees the wolf at the end of The Kentucky Cycle.

How do the women in the plays react to the violent natures of the men in their lives? What makes the difference between the women of the earlier plays, Morning Star, Rebecca, and Joleen, and Mary Anne in Part II?

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