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Analysis of the Play 'Warren Pryor' by Alden Nowlan

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In the play ‘Warren Pryor’ by Alden Nowlan the title of the play indicates that the play will retell or talk about a person by the name ‘Warren Pryor’. This play talks about a young boy who is sent off the boarding school, and his family is very poor, as it explains in the first line that a simple meant a sacrifice. Although his family is poor, they are working extremely hard to help the boy get through school, to get a proper education, because they do not want their son working on a farm, and they “They blushed with pride when, at his graduation” which indicates that they are happy, and they were amazed who that their son worked at a bank with clean shirts and he was saved from “their thistle-strewn farm and its red dirt” instead of their farm as they compared it to a “brutal toil “. However at the end of the play, it is revealed that their son would have preferred to work on the farm, the young man is miserable when working at the bank which ironic because throughout the entire play, the parents were working like slaves to get their son a better life.

The author uses imagery concisely and constantly throughout the play to show how miserable the parents were working on the farm, as in the first stanza, as they sent their son away he was free from being a slave “from the stony fields”. Majority of farmers are proud of their land and their hard work, but instead, his parents wish to leave are very sad working as the says “the meagre acreage that bore them down.”, meaning their large land is too much for them. These lines of the poem portray a strong emotion as the farmer do not love their land, and just compare it as slave work. The author makes sure to emphasize the parents were absolutely disheartened and depressed as near the end of the pain, as they use “thistle-strewn farm and its red dirt. ” to describe their farm which does not show pride and love or affection in no manner.

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When their son graduated they were proud and stunned how he wore “a milk-white shirt work days and jeans on Sundays” which is the complete opposite from a typical and normal farmers outfit on a working day, which is usually covered in dirt. Using the phrase “a milk-white shirt” emphasizes how clean and crisp their son dressed to go to work. Another strong sign of imagery which gives the readers a feel and how to visualize just how mad the young man was, as he like a “young bear inside his teller’s cage” which was a very small cage.

The tone of the first couple lines were told in the authors and the parents point of view, and they had an intense admiration and were delighted and proud at their son, and just could not explain how happy they were for him, as he did not have to work on their farm. On the contrary, the last few lines, the authors flips the entire mood, from pride and happiness to pity and sadness because the young man is just as miserable at his new job like his parents are on the farm. The author does not joke throughout the poem keeping the mood of seriousness and sympathy as sacrifice and misery were two prominent themes throughout the play.

In the line “his passport from the years of brutal toil “, this is a key symbol because a passport is used for destinations and future travels, and in this poem it is used to represent the young boys new life away from the hardworking farm, which is ironic because not once did the parents ask what the young boy wanted to do with his life, because it would have saved confusion and years of misery for both parent and kid as it shows the ‘B’ in the word ‘bank’ is capitalized showing the family’s level of wealth and that the bank was a higher class job.

This poem deals with real life problems such as work hard and one will achieve and be successful and the parents worked hard to send their kid to school, and the kid worked hard to become a bank teller. An additional problem is parents assuming what their kid wants and not asking before hand and pressuring them what they think is best.


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