Read the 1899 play “Uncle Sam’s New Scholars: A Humorous Sketch in One Scene” (see in new tab) by Helen A. Flack (Mrs. Royal Bristol) and compare it with the political cartoon “School Begins“. As your read through the script, pose yourself questions that will help you with your comparisons.
- Who are the characters on the play? Are these the same characters you have seen portrayed in the cartoon “School Begins”? How about other cartoons from the gallery?
- In terms of symbolism, how similar are the significance of these characters’ costumes to the ones emerging from the cartoon?
- How are Puerto Rican, Cubans, and Filipinos depicted in this play? How are Uncle Sam and Columbia portrayed?
- What do you think was the intention of the playwright? Why do you think it was written?
- Who do you think was the audience?
- Does the play help you further understand political cartoons or contradict your initial interpretation? Please explain your response.
- Do the cartoons help you further understand the play or contradict your initial interpretation? Please explain your response.
- What does the play offer that the cartoon does not?
- What does the cartoon offer that the play does not?
Helen August Flack [Mrs. Royal A.J Bristol], “Uncle Sam’s New Scholars,” Werner’s Magazine: A Magazine of Expression 23 (1899): 353-55 (355).
- A short biography of author Helen A. Flack (Mrs. Royal Bristol )
- An advertisement of the play script, “Uncle Sam’s New Scholars”, found in the published play, “Show of Hands.”.