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Corn Is Green


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A: Emlyn Williams Pf: 1938, London Pb: 1938 G: Drama in 3 acts S: Living room of Miss Moffat's home, remote Welsh village, late 19th c. C: 10m, 5f, extrasMiss Moffat, a 40-year-old spinster, comes to live in the small Welsh village of Glansarno with her cockney servant Mrs Watty and the latter's teenage daughter Bessie. When she discovers that the village children are offered no education and that the boys at 12 are forced to find employment in the mines, she decides to open a village school. When she is opposed by the local coal-mine owner, she almost gives up, but then reads the startling words of one of her pupils Morgan Evans: ‘The mine is dark, where the corn is green.’ Two years later, Miss Moffat's school, with the help of two assistants, is progressing well, and she intends to enter Morgan for a scholarship at Oxford. Mocked by Bessie, Morgan rebels at being ‘the schoolmistress's little dog’, but finally settles to his studies. As he is sitting his examination, Bessie announces that she is pregnant with Morgan's child. Seven months later, to the joy of the whole village, Morgan receives news that he has won the Oxford scholarship, but Bessie insists that he must marry her. Anxious that he should escape the confines of Welsh rural life and pass on his education to future generations, Miss Moffat adopts the baby, so that Morgan is free to go to university.

A: Emlyn Williams Pf: 1938, London Pb: 1938 G: Drama in 3 acts S: Living room of Miss Moffat's home, remote Welsh village, late 19th c. C: 10m, 5f, extras

This play is based on Williams's own life and is an expression of gratitude to the teacher who liberated him from the narrow horizons of his working-class background in north Wales. Although Williams stands as Wales's first dramatist in the modern period, his relationship with his homeland is problematic: behind the rather shallowly optimistic outcome of the play, Morgan's success is achieved only through rejecting his own language and culture.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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