Noughts and Crosses: social context

Noughts and Crosses: social context

Basic Understanding

  • Noughts and Crosses” is a play penned by Malorie Blackman, derived from her novel of the same name. It provides commentary on racial division and discrimination, exhibiting themes of prejudice, racism, love, and rebellion.
  • Its setting is an imaginary dystopian society, wherein societal roles are reversed with the ‘Crosses’ (dark-skinned individuals) holding significant power and supremacy, while the ‘Noughts’ (white-skinned individuals) suffer discrimination.

Plot and Characters

  • In the play, Sephy (a Cross) and Callum (a Nought) establish a friendship that develops into a romantic relationship, making it a forbidden love story much like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
  • Look at how other characters deal with the societal norms - Callum’s family members, for example, have differing perspectives and ways of coping that reflect the larger scope of responses to such oppressive circumstances.

Themes and Interpretation

  • This work highlights the inherent bias, inequality, and injustice present within this society. It deals with issues of segregation in schools, separate living areas and facilities for Noughts and Crosses, reminiscent of the apartheid-era in South Africa.
  • Despite being a dystopian work, “Noughts and Crosses” parallels tangible issues of racial discrimination and segregation experienced in real societies globally, thus serving as a critique of systemic racism.

Potential Discussion Points

  • Key points of discussion could include how the play’s unique social context challenges standard narratives about race and introduces new perspectives on societal power hierarchies, racial bias and unfair treatment.
  • Also crucial is how the context affects the relationship between Sephy and Callum - their friendship is viewed with hostility given the societal norms, leading to tensions and conflicts that highlight the adverse effects of discrimination and poor communication.

Relevance and Impact

  • The play offers an intriguing insight into the experiences of those living under oppressive regimes and racial discrimination, showcasing their struggles and the dire consequences of these societal barriers. It is thus an effective tool for audience members to comprehend the significance of fairness and equal treatment for all, regardless of race.