Oscar: that’s how it oughta be.

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Lynn Nottage gives the last lines of her 2015 play Sweat to Oscar, who has inherited the bar that all the characters once gathered in. It has since become a hangout for college kids.
Characters Jason and Chris have met in the bar to hash things out when Stan, the former bartender, walks in. Stan has experienced brain trauma and can’t hear anymore, can’t really talk, and only moves with extreme difficulty:
OSCAR: He can’t really hear good.
CHRIS: Jesus.
(Stan goes about wiping tables. They all watch. Stan drops his cloth. He struggles to get it. Jason runs over and picks it up.)
STAN (Garbled): Thank… you.
JASON: It’s nice that you take care of him
OSCAR: That’s how it oughta be.
(There’s apology in their eyes, but Chris and Jason are unable to conjure words just yet. The four men, uneasy in their bodies, await the next moment in a fractured togetherness.
Blackout.)
END OF PLAY
Really interesting literature rarely offers up clear answers; instead, it helps us ask the questions that facilitate critical self reflection. In this case, Sweat poses a single question, over, and over, and over again: whose needs come first, those of the individual or those of the community? It’s a question that is as American as the country itself, and the struggle to find a good answer to it is reflected in every moment of Sweat as the characters confront the changing realities of their jobs, worry about their futures, and walk the picket line.
In the space of 4-5 pages, write an essay which argues for your answer to the above question, using evidence from Sweat to support yourself. Your essay should be in MLA format and have a clear thesis statement, as well as a citation of the play at its end.

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