NoChild by Sun Nilaja
NoChild…is play written by Nilaja Sun. She features high school students inNew York and the lifestyles in schools. The story is based on asix-week experience of a visiting teacher in a particular high schoolto produce a play “OurCountry’s Good”(Sun 8). The play narrates stories of teachers and children in themost poorly performed schools. The issues of parental involvement,students’ poor background, and race stereotypes are presented in Nochild were very similar to my own high school experiences.
Fromthe play, most of the students’ parents are very keen on how theirchildren behave. At school, janitors, teachers, administrators, andsecurity guards are also keen to observe students discipline (Sun 9).Sun says, “Discipline, it was really lacking in the public schools.Some of the kids couldn’t sit still for fifteen minutes.” Oncethe school janitor said, “All the bathrooms on the third floor,they broke.” This is the same experience during my high schooltimes. Our parents, teachers, and other school staffs were alwaysthere to monitor our moves. Breaking any of the school rules andregulations would result to punishment.
Further,most of the students in the play are from poor backgrounds. Most ofthem are Hispanic-Americans and African-Americans who always faceviolence frequently. Most of them live in a two-parent householdregardless of family size. In the first scene, one parent is seenbegging her landlord to extend the rent payment date. The landlordcomplains and say, “it is about family in the Lower East sideduring the storm.” Sun responds to the issue and says, “my heartis opening to the challenges that the kids and teachers face.”During my high school time, most of us were from poor backgrounds.Some parent did not have enough money to clear the school fees.
Lastly,there were some racial stereotypes associated with each race. Forinstance, a Chinese teacher was always in trouble due to herinability to differentiate R and L sounds (Sun 17). The authorcriticizes the ideas and says, “It’s not didactic.” Also, theChinese teacher urge, “it does not matter how one pronounces theword as long as the audience understands.” However, she never paidmuch interest on her accent as long as student understood the messageconveyed. In my former school, the same stereotype existed. Forinstance, one of my classmates would not pronounce a word with “Sh”appropriately. Other student made fun of him and always imitated him.
Indeed,the play Nochild…exhibit issues that happen in real life. The experiences by studentsin the play are the same experience that most of us experience inschools. Nilaja exposes most issues experiences in these schools bystudents, teachers, or parents. Therefore, the play a reflection ofwhat happens in schools.
Sun,Nilaja. NoChild.New York: Dramatists Play Service, 2008. Print.