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Hero


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A: Gilbert Emery Pf: 1921, New York Pb:c.1921 G: Drama in 3 acts S: The Lanes' home, New York, 1919 C: 3m, 3fThroughout the First World War, Andrew Lane has worked hard as an insurance salesman to support his family, his wife, his son, his widowed mother, and a young Belgian girl, who escaped from the German occupation to come to America. His brother Oswald has been wounded in action in France and now returns home as a much-decorated war hero. This is a surprise to the family, because Oswald had always been the black sheep of the family. Despite his heroic status, he turns out to be as immoral as ever. He very soon seduces the Belgian refugee and then steals church funds. However, as he is running away, he stops to rescue some boys from a fire and is burned to death. Andrew concludes that his brother was a true hero after all.

A: Gilbert Emery Pf: 1921, New York Pb:c.1921 G: Drama in 3 acts S: The Lanes' home, New York, 1919 C: 3m, 3f

This play and What Price Glory? were the two best American plays to emerge from the Great War. However, the ambivalent character of Oswald, which questioned the model of the clean-living US war hero, was clearly too challenging for audiences watching it less than three years after the end of hostilities: the play ran for only 80 performances and Emery's name is now almost forgotten.

Subjects: Theatre — Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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