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The Part Played by Language in the Play The Overwhelming

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According to the research findings, it can, therefore, be said that the play is set in Rwanda in the tension-filled period of 1994 just a few months ahead of the massive massacre in which 800,000 people were murdered in just about 100 days. Hence, the whole atmosphere is filled with tension and fear and this is reflected in the dialogues too. This is an English play that has several characters from different ethnic backgrounds. Hence, the English served to us are tinged with various accents. Apart from English, the play also has liberal doses of Rwandan and French and people are not expected to understand the latter. The audiences are not educated in the language, nor is any explanation or English translation of this foreign language presented to them. But, by the tone of the language they come to understand the seriousness of the situation. When the Rwandan characters speak in English they do so in a French-African accent. This is reflected in their spoken English. The play revolves around an American family that arrives in Kigali, Rwanda in the beginning of the year 1994. Coming in a volcanic situation they have to confront a life-and-death reality of Rwandan genocide. Jack Exley is a middle age academic who brings along his journalist second wife, Linda (an Afro-American) and his white 17 year old son, Geoffrey. For him this is an adventure trip and he wants his son to have a learning experience through it. He says- I don’t want to raise another American who doesn’t question, mentioning his students back home and their sense of entitlement. This isn’t Sweden, a U. S. embassy official tells him dryly. Jack has come for a reunion with his old college friend, Joseph who has made a name for himself in looking for a cure for AIDS found in small children. But, on his arrival he finds that his friend has disappeared without leaving any trace behind. No one there is willing to help him.