Philip Hayes Dean’s “The Sty of the Blind Pig” (1971)

This paper analyzes Philip Hayes Dean’s play “The Sty of the Blind Pig” (1971) about an African-American family, transplanted to Chicago, in the 1950’s as the civil rights movement was beginning im the South.

This paper explains that, although the audience is cognizant that social change is on the horizon, the characters themselves at first are only concerned with their immediate, personal changes and struggles. The author points out that the antagonist of the play is the character’s collective lack of movement and motion: Jordan is ‘stuck’ in his own way, in a quest for a woman long lost, Weedy and Alberta are ‘stuck’ in their apartment and Uncle Doc is mired in a life of gambling. The paper determines that the three main members of the family all represent different but ineffective pre-civil rights ways of Black Americans to cope with societal and institutionalized racism: Religion in the form of Weedy, self-sacrifice and self-denial in the form of Alberta and a recourse to get-rich quick schemes and the drug of gambling in the form of Uncle Doc.

Weedy’s brother, Alberta’s Uncle Doc, often visits both women. Doc is a gambler and a bad one at that, but his humor and animation seem to bring life to the room, even though he walks in a shuffling, difficult fashion. He seems to fill the room even though the audience knows his designs upon the two women are usually purely financial in nature, in a valiant and quixotic attempt, as amongst all down-on-his-luck gamblers, to get more money to waste in dubious ventures.

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