What two aspects of mise-en-scene define El Pachuco's character in Zoot Suit?

Quick answer:

In these two scenes, the playwright used mise-en-scene to demonstrate El Pachuco's resistance against mainstream culture.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One of the major themes in the play is how the press helped to build negatively and hatred towards the zoot suit culture. Many of the scenes involving El Pachuco revolve around this theme. As he states:

The press distorted the very meaning of the word "zoot suit." All it is for you guys is another way to say Mexican.

At the beginning of the opening scene, the backdrop consists of a newspaper front page with the headline "ZOOT-SUITOR HORDES INVADE LOS ANGELES. US NAVY AND MARINES ARE CALLED IN." Behind the newspaper, the playwright states that black drapes create "haunting shadows ... evoking memories and feelings like an old suit hanging forgotten in the depths of a closet." From behind, El Pachuco slices through the newspaper with a knife, walks on stage, and begins to dress into his zoot suit.

In scene 8, act one where El Pachuco is described as "the only who relaxes and moves," newspapers are arranged by the "PRESS" to form a jail cell.

Both scenes show how determined and resistant El Pachuco is against even the most oppressive forms of mainstream culture.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial