Get all the key plot points of Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal on one page. From the creators of SparkNotes. Machinal begins in an office building in an unspecified American city. . How do the themes in Treadwell’s Machinal relate to challenges the culture represented. Analysis and discussion of characters in Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal.

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When the curtain lifts and the lights go on, the workers murmur to themselves as they go about their business. They remark that this is the third time that week that Helen has been delayed.

When she finally appears, Helen tells them she had to get off the subway because she felt trapped. Her colleagues ignore her troubles, moving on to tell her that the boss, George H. Joneshas been looking for her.

When Helen goes into Mr. Moments later, Helen returns and sits still in front of her typewriter. As they chatter, the machines click and rattle and Helen thinks aloud to herself, considering Mr.

In Episode Two, Helen sits in a kitchen with her mother. The two women argue about the meal, and Helen tells her mother that George wants to marry her. At first, her mother is skeptical, but once she learns George is wealthy, she encourages Helen to move forward with the idea. Will it clothe you? Will it feed you? Will it pay the bills? At the end of the scene, she decides to marry George, and the lights go off and faint jazz plays into Episode Three.

In Episode Three, George and Helen enter a hotel room on their honeymoon. While George is happy and boisterous, Helen is skittish, quiet, and hesitant to embrace her new husband. George urges her to relax, asking why she looks so scared. As she squirms, he urges her to calm down.

She tells George she misses her mother, which confuses him, since she told treaswell earlier that machjnal was glad to spend time away from the old woman. In Episode Four, Helen lies in a maternity ward. Helen shakes her head and the nurse chastises her. The nurse asks if Helen needs anything, and Helen points outside, where construction is noisily underway, but the nurse can do nothing to stop the raucous sounds. As he goes on, Helen starts choking and pointing at the door.


The doctor then enters, insists that she try breastfeeding, and demands that she start eating solid food.

Machinal: how an execution gripped America and sparked a Broadway sensation

Episode Five opens in a speakeasy with three tables. At one of the tables, two men sit waiting for Helen and the telephone girl, who are late. One the men, Mr. Smithis having an affair and is depending on his friend, Mr. Roeto preoccupy Helen so that he can quickly spend some private time with the telephone girl before rushing home to his wife. Finally, Helen and the telephone girl arrive. Helen quickly takes a liking to Mr.

Roe, who flirts with her until Mr. Smith and the telephone girl leave to have sex. Roe tells Helen that he was once captured in Mexico by bandits, and that he filled a bottle with stones and clubbed the men to death in order to escape.

Not long afterward, they go to Mr. Roe tells her about Mexico, talking about the freedom one feels south of United States. Before leaving, she sees a flower on the windowsill and asks Mr. Roe who gave it to him. He tells her he bought it himself because it reminded him of San Francisco, and the lovers talk about riding free in the mountains around the Bay Area.

They kiss, and Helen asks if she can take the flower with her. When she departs, the music in the street plays until abruptly cutting off at the opening of Episode Seven.

Episode Seven treadweol Helen and George in the sitting room of their house reading separate newspapers. The phone mahinal, and George learns that one of his business deals has gone through. Upon hanging up, he boasts about the success and goes over to Helen, who flinches when he touches treadwfll. In Episode Eight, Helen is in court. Her attorney, the Lawyer for Defensequestions treadwwell while the jury, judgeand reporters listen. One of them, she says, clubbed George over the head with a bottle before she could do anything to stop it.

Having concluded, the Lawyer for Defense takes his seat, and the Lawyer for Prosecution takes the floor. He shows her the broken bottle used to kill George, saying that he thinks its strange the glass bears no finger prints.


The lawyer refutes this, presenting as evidence a pair of gloves found in her home on the fateful night.

As he brings out other damning pieces of evidence, he shows the jury a bowl he claims Helen brought home a year ago that spring. He says the bowl contained a water lily, but Helen denies this. Finally, the lawyer produces an affidavit from Mr.

Roe saying that he gave her the water lily and that she has visited his apartment nearly everyday since their first encounter. In the ninth episode, Helen is behind bars listening to a priest pray for her. Eventually, two barbers enter the cell to shave her hair to make sure the electric chair has clean mavhinal of contact on her head.

I will not be submitted! Macninal my God am I never to be let alone! Always to have treadwrll submit—to submit! Sign In Sign Up. To Business Episode 2: At Home Episode 3: The Law Episode 9: Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does.

Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of every Shakespeare play. LitCharts From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Machinal by Sophie Treadwell.

Download this Lit Guide! Retrieved December 30, Download this Chart PDF. They’re like having in-class notes for every discussion! Get the Teacher Edition. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.

Machinal: how an execution gripped America and sparked a Broadway sensation | Stage | The Guardian

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