Waiting for Lefty

Waiting for Lefty Revisited by Odets

In his play "Waiting for Lefty" Clifford Odets attempts to stir up the weary American public of the 1930s by providing examples of everyday people who, with some coaxing, rise above the capitalist mess they've inherited and take control of their destinies. In his work, Odets paints the common man as honest, sacrificial, and exploited, while big business and the government are portrayed as the proletariat's enemies, anonymous corporations of rich men intent on shattering dreams. Odets makes his point clear: in order to survive in the cutthroat world of Depression-era America, one must band with others, make necessary sacrifices, and live for oneself, not for a paycheck or in a deluded fantasy-state.

The play's centerpiece, the gradual movement towards a strike for a group of taxi drivers, begins with an anti-striker, aptly named Fatt both for his physical and fiscal qualities, delivering a speech railing against the notion of a strike. Using unity as a means to coerce the dissatisfied workers into sedation, he proclaims, "I'm against the strike. Because we gotta stand behind the man [FDR] who's standin' behind us!" (5) As Fatt and a man branded a communist by Fatt debate the strike,...

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