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Popular Culture Dictates Life: A Review Of The Play "Graceland" By Ellen Byron.

1090 words - 4 pages

The short play, "Graceland" by Ellen Byron, presents two contrasting Elvis Presley fanatics. Bev Davies, as described in the play, is a "strong-willed and opinionated woman but also very generous and open." Notice that Byron already presents the contrasting characteristics of Bev, which may be seen as a foreshadowing of her transformation in the latter part of the play. Rootie, on the other hand, is another Elvis fanatic which is a complete opposite of Bev in terms of their physical appearance and social status. The contrasting characteristics of Bev and Rootie, however, is not the source of the conflict of the play. It is their sharing of the same admiration towards Elvis Presley which starts the conflict.The conflict of the play generates at the start of the play, where Bev and Rootie compete for the privilege to enter Graceland, Elvis Presley's mansion, first. The conflict comes in the form of a simple and, may be, realistic argument between Bev and Rootie. Bev not only believes that she arrived at Graceland's yard first, but also believes that no one else is deserving to be the first to enter Graceland but she because of her dedication to the life of Elvis Presley. She looks down at Rootie at the start the play, thinking that a poor and young girl doesn't deserve to get the privilege of entering the mansion. She tells Rootie how dedicated she is to the life of Elvis, to the point of bragging her basement which she turned into a memorial room for him. Rootie, on the other hand, proves herself to be a fanatic of Elvis by answering all the "Elvis-questions" Bev throws at her. The play presents two different levels of Elvis mania, but notice that this did not become a factor in deciding who deserves to be the first in entering the mansion at the end of the story. The implication of this will be discussed later.After the first argument which ends with a stalemate, conversation about random topics begins, usually with Rootie starting the topic. At these moments of conversations, the conflict is temporarily forgotten. As the conversation goes on, the play seems to be very static - Bev and Rootie talking to each other without much action. But Bev undergoes a transformation during their conversation. When Rootie mentions that his brother, Beau, was a Marine, Bev becomes more comfortable talking to Rootie since they, after all, have something in common. Bev's character undergoes a change once again when Rootie shares her brothers' and father's death and how important it is for her to be the first one to get into the mansion. Bev feels sorry for Rootie on one hand, but on the other hand still holds on to her claim that she came to the yard first. However, Rootie's innocence wins the heart of Bev in the end. As Rootie shares to Bev how important is Beau to her life, how important is Elvis to Beau's life, and her concern of losing the "special place" which she shared once with Beau before, Bev feels the sincerity of Rootie. The openness of Bev allows her...

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