fifth of july

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From the beginning of the play The Heidi chronicles we can see already that Heidi is concerned about the dominating role of men over women. The whole meaning of the play becomes about Heidi herself and her role as a woman in society. The problem is that Heidi does not know what exactly her role as a woman in an 80s society. In the Heidi’s fraise “And you sort of want to dance, and sort of want to go home, and you sort of don’t know what you want. So you hang around, a fading rose in an exquisitely detailed dress, waiting to see what might happen, ”(scene ) she reflects her doubts.

Fran represents a strong person, a fundamental feminist. Her words“ You either shave your legs or don’t”-separate women into two groups according to Fran’s standards mothers and wives at home and strong and independent women. Unlike Fran, Heidi is unsure on which side she wants to be. Supposedly she is feminist. She works as a professor, specializing in Women’s art during the Renaissance, which basically shows her concern about the ignored place of women painters prior to the 0th century. But she is not a painter; she is an observer of these paintings, as well as of her life itself. As a woman, she enjoys the attention she receives from men, but she “covet(s) her independence.”(Pg.167) “To shave your legs or not to shave?”(pg.178) is the question Heidi is trying to find an answer to throughout the whole play. She is a humanist who is trying to find happiness in men and family, but afraid to let go her personal freedom and independence.

Even though, Heidi has a chance to have a relationship and a family with a man, Scoop, who is interested in her as an attractive woman, she still is trying to hold her position as an independent woman. Later in the play Scoop gets married to Lisa, a perfect example of wife and mother, and an image of what real women ought to be, which shows the desire of majority family orientated men to marry a woman beneath him, with fewer ambitions than him everything which Heidi is not. On the other hand, Heidi dreams of having a family one day, but now she is too involved with self realization and fulfillment. She has doubts about herself. Scene three opens with Heidi meeting Susan for lunch. Susan is an executive, a far cry from her earlier persona, but not so far a cry when one stops to consider her character. “ Susie, do you ever think that makes you a person is also what keeps you from being a person?”(pg.4), Heidi asks. The translation of her question would be” Does being feminist keep me from being a woman?” Unlike her friend Fran, whom she met in her earlier years, a fundamental feminist and a lesbian who is not alone among women like her, Heidi suspects that the other side of the coin of being a feminist is loneliness, which is why she is dreaming of becoming a mother one day. But years go by and Heidi still is not sure of what she wants to be. At the end of the play she makes a last attempt to fulfill herself as a woman, to be loved by a man, Peter, a friend with whom she has a spiritual connection. But it is too late, Peter is too much involved in his personal drama, and he is not the same person he used to be, although he still has that connection with Heidi. Observing her life from outside and waiting for things to happen, she becomes lonely. Consciously she realizes that, but she does not want to admit the truth. In the last scene, when Scoop comes to visit her and her adopted daughter, Heidi talks about her daughter will never think that she is worthless, “And maybe, just maybe, things will be a little better. And yes, that does make me happy.”(Pg.47)

The play ends with Heidi holding up her daughter in front of a banner for a Georgia O’Keefe retrospective, a woman artist who found her own way in life. Heidi is finally finding a sense, of who she is amidst of the turmoil of the world, and how she wants to face the world knowing who she is.

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The Heidi Chronicles is a story that is more than a story of one woman. It reflects a culture that was challenged and what happened to those who did the challenging.

At the heart of The Piano Lesson is a brother and a sister couple at war over the question of using the family legacy. Bernice, the sister , fiercely protects the piano from being sold. She figures as the guardian of the family’s past. Unlike other characters, the stage notes for Bernice are somewhat sparse, describing her as a thirty-five-year-old mother still mourning for her husband, Crawley. She blames her brother, Boy Willie, for her husband’s death, remaining ever skeptical of his bravado and chiding him for his rebellious ways.

Bernice still constantly thinks about Crawley and has refused to re-marry. Though the play ultimately stages her seduction by Lymon-in some sense to recuperate her femininity, it is crucial that she figures as a woman-in-mourning. In this respect, she doubles as her mother, Mama Ola, a woman who, in her mourning for her husband, spent the rest of her days attending to the piano that cost him his life. Bernice will continually invoke her memory against her brother and his own appeals to his farther, thus appearing as heir to a certain maternal legacy. Indeed, her mother led her to the piano in the first place.

Bernice’s brash, impulsive, and fast talking a brother, the thirty-year-old- Boy Willie introduces the central conflict of the play. Coming from Mississippi, he plans to sell the family piano and buy the land his ancestors once worked as slaves. His impulse is to use the family’s legacy practically-that is, convert it into capital. In this sense, Willie will appear guilty of a denial or turn away from his family’s traumatic past.

Boy Willie approaches everything with a certain boyish and occasionally crude bravado. He is especially vehement on questions of race. Declaring himself the equal of the white man, he continually refuses to accept the racial situation that he imagines the others accommodate themselves to. Thus he insists that he lives at the “top” rather than the “bottom” of life and remains intent on leaving his mark on the world. Aware of the fear he arouses in whites, he knows that he wields the “power of death”-that is, the power both risk one’s life and kill if necessary-that equalizes all men. Though the white man may wield the legal and political authority to punish him, he will only follow laws that he considers just.

Both plays reflect women’s views about their roles throughout the history. In The Piano Lesson women represented as devoted mothers that do not realize yet the potential of being independent from their husbands, but they have strong personalities, strong enough to oppose men’s opinion. Where in The Heidi Chronicles women fight to change a major point of views about women in 80s and their roles in the society. The similarity of the characters, Heidi and Bernice, comes from their femininity. They both strong and independent from men women, each one of them in unique way, but they cannot fight with a fact of being a woman and a philological need to be loved by a man.

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