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Elephant Man

The Elephant Man, written by Bernard Pomerance, is a play about identity. It is a play about a man who is deformed, but constantly trying to live life as an ordinary person. The play begins with John Merrick, also known as the Elephant Man, performing in a carnival freak show in order to make a minute amount of money for living expenses. In Scene VI, Even on the Niger and Ceylon, Not This, Treves brings in Miss Sandwich to become Merricks nurse. He explains to her that he has been let down so far by the other nurses he has introduced to Merrick. He prepares her for the sight of Merrick so that she will not react harshly when she sees him. Ironically she says, Appearances do not daunt me. Treves then offers her the opportunity to see Merrick for the first time and bring him his lunch. When laying eyes on Merrick, she becomes frazzled and bolts from the room, throwing the lunch tray into Treves arms. When Treves goes to speak to Miss Sandwich she states that no one will do the job. This scene contributes to the other scenes of the play because it is a prime example of how people react when meeting Merrick. Merrick struggles with trying to fit in mostly because of his low self-esteem as a result of the cruel reactions of people. People do not give him a chance and get to know him well enough to see the kind and gentle personality traits of John Merrick, all they see is his physical deformities and that alone scares them away. As the play goes on, people begin to look past his deformities and see that he is a true genuine person who has feelings like themselves. Merrick is given the chance to raise his self-esteem when he meets Mrs. Kendal. She is an actress who walks in with a smile on her face and is capable of sustaining the smile. She talks to him as if he is a human being and not a freak. She introduces many members of the elite class to John Merrick and they all react just as she did, looking beyond physical characteristics to the ...

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