For All You HL Lit Students Studying for Paper 2!

 May 2009 Higher level Paper Two Time Zone 2

a) In plays a character who appears briefly, or who does not appear at all, can be a
significant presence, contributing to an action, developing other characters or conveying ideas. To what extent have you found this to be true of at least two works you have studied?

Warren’s : Praed (develops Vivie’s character by being so starkly opposite to her)

Streetcar : Eunice (her relationship with her husband is telling of Stella’s and Stanley’s)

SIGNIFICANT PRESENCE: They both convey the social norm and put the main action of the play into context.

Praed’s ideals of what a lady is and enjoys is juxtaposed with Vivie’s opinion. (Shows exactly how different and progressive Vivie is.)

Eunice’s break-up and make-up scene mirrors Stanley and Stella’s and therefore enhances the link between sex and violence. (Also shows that the relationship is very normal in the ‘urban jungle’ they live in.)

Futhermore, Vivie meets Praed before meeting Mrs. Warren just as Blanche meets Eunice before meeting Stella. They are significant because they set the scene and highlight differences and possible points of tension between the “incoming” character with the setting they have come to.

In terms of “extent”- scene and props are just as important, but in a more subtle way. Compared to physical presence (presence = macroscale), the props or scene simply magnify the tension (scene and props = microscale) that is already set up/ framed by the characters that only appear briefly.


Just did this in class and got Mr. Asshole’s (surprised) praise for it. Hope it helps anyone preparing for the upcoming IB exams! Good luck to you all!!



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