Date of Award

5-9-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

W. Keith Tims, Ph.D.

Abstract

The Octoroon, by Dion Boucicault, is a play that Boucicault himself argued is “an effective intervention in the slavery debate, one designed to reveal the real cruelties of the slavery system” (Mullen 91). By calling The Octoroon an intervention, Boucicault intimated that his play could influence what was happening during the antebellum period of United States history by starting a dialog between opposing factions. While Boucicault did indeed contribute to this dialog, he is also known for not choosing a side. “‘Nothing in the world,’ protested the Times, ‘can be more harmless and non-committal than Mr. Boucicault’s play.’ It had in it ‘no demonstrations in favor of the down-trodden, no silly preachings of pious negroes, no buncombe of Southern patriots, no tedious harangues of Eastern philanthropists.’ The Octoroon was exactly what it had intended to be ‘a picture of life in Louisiana!’” (Kaplan 551). By simply writing a play that paints “a picture of life in Louisiana,” Boucicault was able to allow his work to present the complex issues that are the ingredients in this dramatic portrait.

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