Medea

In “Do You Know What Bitch is Backwards?’: Mythic Revision and Ritual Reversal in the
Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women,”* RhodessaJones, founder and
director of the Medea Project, expresses the hope behind the program’s storytelling
exercise: “If the inmate can distance herself from an identity or label and interrogate
its construction, she may be able to create an image of herself that she might not have
thought possible and that she just might be able to enact outside of the jail cell” (174).
Jones sees understanding social roles as, in fact, roles to play as a first step toward
breaking the inmates’ cycle of recidivism. Medea, whose story inspires the project,
creates an image of herself that stands at odds with their communities’ expectations.
Ultimately, your paper will be about socially constructed roles and the inmates in the
Medea Project, and your introduction and thesis for the paper should reflect those
concerns. However, you are to think about the lessons Medea has to offer the inmates,
so make sure your thesis mentions them as well. To generate your insights, you’ll
need to explore how Medea determines her own role in Euripides’s play, regardless of
any norms blocking her. It’s best to collect your thoughts on the plays

first. Worksheet #1 is designed to help you with that.

1) What role (or roles) do other characters-Jason, the Tutor, the Nurse, etc.-attempt
to force Medea into? How are these expectations not idiosyncratic to these other
characters, but reflective of societal standards?

2) How does Medea defy the roles imposed on her. What alternative role (or roles) does
she find instead? How does she pursue this alternative role (or these alternative roles)?
3) How realistic would it be for other women to pursue the freedom from expectations
Medea pursues? How is Medea typical? How is she exceptional?

3) How realistic would it be for other women to pursue the freedom from expectations
Medea pursues? How is Medea typical? How is she exceptional?

Next, apply what you’ve learned analyzing the play to the incarcerated women of the
Medea Project. (I intend the third question above to help you transition into this part of
the assignment.)

Repeatedly, Sara Warner’s article acknowledges the likelihood that the women
participating in the project will end up back in jail (e.g., check the great “This ain’t

no Dreamgirls” quotation [175]). You havejust examined a case in a which character
breaks the cycles of oppression that others try to impose on her. If it’s all so difficult,
then what’s the point in trying to break free? (There has to be a point, right?) And, for
those of us who are lucky enough to exist outside the cycle of recidivism typifying jail
life, what value is there in recognizing the formidable social forces driving these
women back to incarceration? How do we all profit from such understanding?

 

 

Sample Solution

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