Delusions of American Society Exposed in Mind the Gap

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Delusions of American Society Exposed in Mind the Gap by Meredith Oakes

Mind the Gap, by Meredith Oakes is an ironic play that reflects many of the more undesirable traits of human nature. The play is set in the London Underground, a more or less universal setting. The two main characters are Ginny, the mother, and Lawrence, her son. The tone of the play is set within the first page and the characters are established quickly as well.

In Mind the Gap, Ginny and Larence are riding on a train to get to the psychiatrist's office. He is rebellious and does not want to go or at least, if they have to go, he laments and whines for a car. ("I told you to take the car.") He is being taken to the psychiatrist because in Ginny's eyes, he dresses like a slob, slouches, and sits around. The mother considers appearances to be very important and she is concerned that the son does not live up to her expectations. As they head towards Brixton, arguments ensue and human instinct takes over. The three main points in this play are hypocrisy, irony, and society's emphasis of materialism.

Oakes establishes the tone of this play in the first page, when she differentiates between the two different voice volumes of Ginny. This is symbolic in that Ginny is also somewhat two-faced (hypocritical) about her son's behavior. As she switches between the two voice ranges, Emma (a minor character) comments and asks why they are going to Brixton. When Ginny masks the real cause of them going to Brixton, it mirrors how people in life want to feel accepted by society. They feel that they must conform to the social standards set in precedence. Anything different and people become afraid of what they do not know. Now at days, people are...

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The nature of this poem is almost satirical in its mocking truth of the lacking side of human nature. In doing so, Mind the Gap can be compared to the absurd play, The Sand Box and the biting one-act of Baby With the Bathwater. The ironies of this story point out the delusional flaws of American society. People are usually in denial of criticisms concerning themselves. Other people's faults are often times so clear to others but their own faults are masked or nonexistent in their eyes. Human nature is a combination of both good and bad. Oakes does a superb job of emphasizing the "bad" side of humanity. Humans are flawed and sometimes, a hero does not exist. In this play, there were no heroes either. However, Oakes is able to transcend that fact and concentrate on the main point of the play: the hypocritical, self-conscious nature of mankind.

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