Topics for Further Study

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Research the history behind the phrase ‘‘speed the plow.’’ How is the phrase’s meaning related to the themes of Mamet’s play?

Compare and contrast Speed-the-Plow with Mamet’s two other ‘‘business’’ plays, American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen Ross. What do these plays say about male relationships/friendships?

Compare and contrast Speed-the-Plow’s Karen to Carol, the young female student in Mamet’s Oleanna. Both claim to be naive young women, yet both are dishonest about themselves. Explore the psychological implications.

Explore the idea of ‘‘the culture of success,’’ a predominant cultural force in the United States in the 1980s, especially in Hollywood. How does this cultural concept affect the actions of each of the characters in the play?

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