The title of Jocelyn Bioh’s School Girls indicates the play’s focus on the current students of Aburi Girls’ boarding school. In the play, scenes depict girlhood as a time of education, friendships, conflict, and self-development. However, in depicting girlhood, the play is also concerned with adulthood. Several adult characters play key roles in the girls’ lives, and the play suggests that students in their final year of school—including Paulina, Ama, and Ericka—are on the cusp of adulthood as they look forward to their future plans that include marriage, college, and careers.
Most notably, the play includes two adult characters: Headmistress Francis and Eloise Amponsah. While they attended school together as girls, their paths in adulthood have diverged; Francis runs the school, while Eloise won Miss Ghana and now works for the pageant. In addition to these adult characters, many of the students’ parents are referenced in dialogue, including the parent(s) of Paulina, Ericka, Ama, and Mercy (who never appear on stage). Through such dialogue, for example, we learn of the parents’ actions, behavior, and beliefs, which often profoundly impact the students. Finally, the students also collectively watch (and critique while watching) the Miss Global Universe pageant, which is emceed by the adult “American TV Host” whose voice permeates the play’s final scene.
In this discussion board post, you will choose one or two of these adult figures from the play (they can be characters on stage or characters only mentioned in dialogue) and analyze how they portray adulthood.
To analyze how one or two adult characters from School Girls portray adulthood you may consider the following questions: what powers, responsibilities, challenges, knowledges, and joys do these characters experience? Are the characters mature and in what ways? What do their relationships, families, and careers look like? How do the adults’ words or actions affect the students? Do the adult characters learn anything new, about themselves or others? Do the adult characters parallel or mirror any of the student characters? Does the play contrast adulthood and childhood or suggest that they may be similar in some ways?
Different societies have different definitions of what makes one an “adult,” though it is often based on an individual’s age; however, many societies contrast adulthood with childhood. Childhood is often viewed as a time of play, growth, immaturity, and identity flux; on the other hand, adulthood is commonly viewed as a stage of life in which a person has reached maturity (physically, legally, intellectually, and/or emotionally) and gained significant self-knowledge. Traditionally, adulthood has been associated with reaching a variety of milestones surrounding relationships (such as getting married), family (such as having children), and career (such as having a job/salary of a certain level). To be very clear: as School Girls acknowledges, the reality of both childhood and adulthood is certainly more complicated and varied for specific individuals than this outline of popular conceptions allows for (some children, for example, may be very mature in some ways, and many adults may not have reached the listed milestones for a variety of reasons, including personal choice).
In your analysis, you must make reference to and build on material from one or more of this week’s lecture videos. Your goal should be to use the lecture material to deepen your analysis of your chosen passage.
1) Choose a Quote from School Girls. Place the quote at the top of the page before your discussion and analysis.
2) Discuss and analyze the topic according to the above directions (350-400 words)
3) Comment substantively on at least three of your classmates’ posts (minimum 50 words per comment)
1) Quote: Your quote may consist of 3-5 sentences. A quote longer than 3-5 sentences should be condensed to include only the most pertinent sections. Please remember: the length of your quotation does not count toward your word count. Place the quote at the top of your post—before you begin your discussion and analysis.
2) Discuss and analyze: After your quote from School Girls, you must then discuss and analyze what your quote suggests about how the play portrays adulthood. Your chosen passage should allow you to analyze how adulthood is portrayed in relation to the one or two adult characters you have chosen. Your analysis should be precise and specific to those characters rather than speaking in broad generalizations about childhood/adulthood. Your critical discussion must be 350-400 words.
Your post must also show evidence of meaningful engagement with the lectures. Make sure that you extend and enhance, rather than simply repeat, what is in the lectures. We—and your classmates—want to know what you think, and why. In other words, you can’t just offer a plot summary or a summary of the relevant lectures; instead, you should aim to use lecture material to extend and deepen your analysis of your chosen passage.
Your post should be well thought out, and relatively free of grammatical errors. Remember that you can also schedule an online appointment with the Writing Center for extra credit, getting help on your discussion post in the process. Consult the syllabus for more information on this extra credit opportunity. You should compose your analysis in Microsoft Word or another word processing program so that you can spellcheck your post before loading it on Canvas. Also ensure that you fully edit your post before you load it into Canvas. When uploading your final post, please cut and paste it in the text box. Please do not attach a separate Word document.