Maria Irene Fornes: The Conduct of Life (1985)

    1. Feminist writers usually reject a linear, forward-moving action in favor of contiguity, or a series of scenes in continuous connection. Fornes does not wish to be categorized by restricted labels such as feminist; she has stated that it is only natural that she writes from a woman's perspective. Point out the characteristics attributed to her writing technique.
    2. Comment on Orlando's being both solider and husband, a South American petty tyrant, victimizing his wife Leticia, his housekeeper Olimpia, and his sex slave Nena.
    3. Are the characters portrayed in the play as stereotypes?
    4. Women playwrights write from their personal perspectives which may be philosophical and political observations about the role of women in western society. Examine the roles women play in The Conduct of Life. What are the female-gendered activities?
    5. Explain how Fornes utilizes a series of fragmentary scenes, elliptical forms, indirect dialogue, interrupted action, and ambiguity as the play structure. Find examples.
    6. What do you think about the ending?

    7. How is the domestic unit in The Conduct of Life seen as a political microcosm for a tyrannical, male dominated class system characterized by destructiveness, aggressiveness, and victimization?