On Tramps and Tyson

There are regular outbreaks of oddity in my Gender and Irish Drama class.  (Let's be honest: in all my classes.) Today, for reasons that defy logic, I began class with a lengthy disquisition on Mike Tyson seen through the lens of Oscar Wilde.  (If you've seen the documentary "Tyson," you know why.)
And then we discussed Synge's The Shadow of the Glen, in which an elderly husband fakes his own death to test his young wife's fidelity.
I:     "So he waits for her to begin inviting men to the house during his own wake. Who comes along first?" 
Student 1:     "Well, there's the shepherd, but first there's the tramp."
Student 2:     "I thought that character was a woman for most of the play." 
Students, as a group:     "Yeah, me too." 
I:     "So you're saying that rather than imagining this as a play about hospitality and the impoverished wanderer, you read this as a commentary on the sexual politics of a young widow inviting a skanky woman to her husband's wake." 
Students:     "Pretty much."

Leave a Reply