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But as Undine embarks on Nottage's clever inversion of a fishout-of-water scenario--a reverse-angle photo of a girl from the 'hood making humbling faux pas among her social betters--the play settles on a gently satiric tone that allows us to catch glimpses of the complicated human beings shackled by circumstance to their cliched roles in American culture.
Corcoran is a serious poet, yet he occasionally departs into a wry or even satiric tone. In "What Land Is This?," for instance, he would appear to have returned from Greece to Britain with an outsider's eye.
If an article or a speech merely rings the changes on a few terms in a classroom tone without a shred of vigor or spirit, is it not rather like a piehsan [biesan], drab of speech and repulsive in appearance?"(31) Mao's satiric tone reflected the power of a popular image: the stereotype of the urban poor in the mindset of this great revolutionary was virtually no different from that held by the public.(32)