Noughts and Crosses: cultural context

Noughts and Crosses: cultural context

Setting and Symbolism in “Noughts and Crosses”

  • “Noughts and Crosses” is a play adapted from the first book in a series penned by Malorie Blackman, offering strong social commentary on issues like racism and prejudice through the narrative of a dystopian society.

  • The title uses a strategic symbology, portraying Noughts as a socially and economically disadvantaged class derived from the zero imagery, and Crosses as powerful, dominant and superior, using the depiction of a ‘+’ symbol.

  • The play brings to life an alternate reality where the Crosses (black people) exercise dominance over the Noughts (white people) - an inversion of the racial power dynamics traditionally seen in society. This offers a nuanced perspective on the concepts of power and privilege.

Highlights of Key Themes

  • The narrative utilises real-world problems such as bullying, star-crossed romance, and terror attacks, painting parallels with real-life scenarios and facilitating audience connection with the portrayal of societal conflicts.

  • Systemic discrimination and race-driven police brutality, commonly discussed in current societal and political circles, are highlighted in the story to underscore the struggles endured by the lower social stratum.

Role of Environment and Power Structures

  • The use of a school as a significant setting within the play elucidates the early indoctrination of societal divisions and prejudices in young individuals, also underscoring the influential role education has in challenging or perpetuating existing power constructs.

Love, Racism and Speaking Up Against Injustices

  • The theme of forbidden love, seen through the relationship between Sephy (a Cross) and Callum (a Nought), critiques societal restrictions based on race and the difficulties in balancing personal emotions with societal norms.

  • The story delves into complicated themes such as internalised racism, privilege, and the significance of advocating against injustices, creating a mesh of pertinent themes seamlessly interconnected through the medium of drama.