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When I began reading these two stories, I began with the background of the two authors. Right off the bat, I notice that they have lived very two different lives. Looking towards the author of Mistaken identity, Sharon E. Cooper, I can see that she is not only an award winning playwright in the United States, but as well as India, Germany, England, and even Hungary. She is also an English tutor, and even a fitness instructor. She is currently residing in the United States. Looking towards the author of Naked Lunch, Michael Hollinger, I notice that he too, is a playwright. He studied at Oberlin Conservatory, a critically acclaimed arts school, and is also still residing in the United States. Both authors have won awards for all their works, even though they write in very different styles. It seems that Cooper may have a lighter sense of writing, focusing on the good then the melodramatic, while Hollinger focuses on the raw truth between people in relationships.
Starting with Mistaken Identity, right off the bat, I notice that the format of the story is in script form. This means that line by line, there are characters and their lines. This is to be expected of Cooper, because she is a playwright after all. Reading more into the story, it is set a pub in Leicester, England. There is a couple on their first date, and they are in the middle of dinner. The characters, Steve and Kali, are talking about an arranged marriage for themselves. Steve seems to be more straightforward with it, while Kali is skittish about it, with good reason. It turns of that Kali is gay, and when she states that, Steve is in shock and taken aback. He is shocked that someone as her is a lesbian, and for many lines, his annoyance shows. He acts like he is a know-it-all with he, saying how she can’t be gay because of the things she does. He keeps asking why her brother would set him up with his lesbian sister, and that is when we find out that Kali’s brother is not aware of her homosexuality. Eventually, Steve comes around, and warms of to Kali as a friend, and promises to not tell her brother about her until she is ready. The scene ends with the pair getting dessert.
In Naked Lunch, there is a pair, Vernon and Lucy, who are sitting in a dining room at Vernon’s house, having a steak dinner. It is later found out that this is a date of some sort. The pair makes small talk, until Vernon realizes that Lucy is not eating her steak. Lucy admits that since they have broken up (which is adding more background to their situation) she has decided to become a vegetarian. This bothers Vernon, because he feels this was because of him. They fight about it subtly, and Vernon explains that he invited her over to talk and possibly “get naked” after they ate. Lucy does not acknowledge this, nervous about the meat situation. Eventually, Vernon snaps, and makes Lucy eat the piece of meat that she is served.
These two stories have many similarities, and many differences. To begin, both of these stories are short plays, so they are both written in script form. They also both have two characters, both of which are on a date of some sort. Both scenarios introduce a conflict very early on, although both conflicts are very different. In Mistaken Identity, the woman character, Kali, is a lesbian, while in Naked Lunch, Lucy is suddenly a vegetarian after breaking up with other character, Steve. These stories have very different endings as well. In Naked Lunch, Lucy is forced to eat the meat that she does not want, while Vernon looks on. In Mistaken Identity, Steve is bothered by the fact that he is on a date with someone who is gay, but eventually warms up to her, and even agrees to not tell her brother her secret. The pair ends up having a wholesome time with each other. Overall, Mistaken Identity plays on the nervousness and surprises that a first date may bring to people, while Naked Lunch shows how rekindling with the past may have some either positive, or negative effects.
Both of these short plays are written by award winning writers, and are also both critically acclaimed. I feel like these plays are award winning because they are both straight to the point. The conflict, like I stated, was introduced very early on in both stories, while both have very different endings. While Cooper’s Mistaken Identity may be more popular in other regions of the world, such as the United States, Hollinger’s Naked Lunch seems to resonate with people all over the world more.