October 19, 2023

#08-350: Oklahoma!

From the poster from the 1955 film version (Wikimedia)

Note: This smash hit on Broadway and. later, on the "silver screen," brought us such memorable tunes as "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!" and "People Will Say We're in Love."

Get Ready: Did you know there was a historic conflict between those who raise crops (farmers) and those who raise animals (ranchers and herders)? Can you  imagine why this is?

Set in the "Indian Territory"--now the state of Oklahoma--in 1906, the Broadway musical Oklahoma! came to the stage in 1943, and to the big screen in 1955.

It features a love triangle centered on the farm girl Laurey Williams. Uppermost in her affections is the cowboy Curly McLain; but Jud Fry, her rough farmhand, also loves her.

As the story begins, Curly invites Laurey to the "box social " dance that night. In this event, the women prepare a box with lunch for two, and the men bid on them. The successful bidder has lunch with the woman the next day.

Laurey says Curly should have asked sooner. He says he will take her in a fancy carriage called a "surrey"--this one with fringe on the top. She doesn't believe him, not realizing he has already rented it.

The lonely, disturbed farmhand Jud, obsessed with Laurey, asks her to the dance. She says "yes," mainly to spite Curly. In fact, she's afraid of Jud. Another girl flirts with Curly. Laurey pretends she doesn't really care.

When Curly discovers that Laurey is going with Jud, he tries once again to convince her to go with him. But Laurey is afraid to go back on her promise to Jud, so she tells Curly that she doesn't love him.

Hurt, Curly goes to Jud's and argues about Laurey; Jud is now more than ever determined to marry Laurey.

Laurey dreams of a blissful life with Curly--but in her dream Jud kills Curly. She awakes realizing that Curly is the man she loves, but still keeps her promise and goes to the dance with Jud.

When the auction of the box lunches begins, Jud outbids everyone for Laurey's lunch--until Curly sells his saddle, horse, and gun to raise enough money to outbid Jud. He wins.

Jud threatens Laurey, and she fires him. Furious, he leaves. When Laurey tells Curly what has happened, he proposes to her. She accepts.

Three weeks later, the married couple celebrates the territory's impending statehood. Jud reappears, drunk. He kisses Laurey and punches Curly. As they fight, Jud produces a knife; when Curly dodges, Jud falls on the knife and dies. A makeshift trial holds Curly "not guilty," and he and Laurey ride away to their honeymoon in the surrey with the fringe on top.


Practice: Match the term to its definition:

  1. affections
  2. flirts
  3. fringe
  4. furious
  5. impending
  6. makeshift
  7. obsessed with
  8. punches
  9. spite
  10. territory
  1. a loose, decorative, hanging border of thread
  2. about to happen
  3. unable to let go of
  4. not formal; unofficial
  5. hits with his fist
  6. get even with; annoy
  7. feelings (of love)
  8. an area of the U.S. that is not a state
  9. extremely angry
  10. plays around at love

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for October 19, 2023

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. g; 2. j; 3. a; 4. i; 5. b; 6. d; 7. c; 8. e; 9. f; 10. h