by KE Monahan Huntley

Grease is the word that has maintained its 50's presence in pop culture vocabulary for the last 20 years. With its current re-release, the film and its soundtrack are certain to bebop right into the year 2000. One reason for the story's sustained popularity is determined in its structure--although uneven at times, Grease contains all four perspectives necessary to make a grand argument.

The main character is Sandy, played by Olivia Newton John. Some may think John Travolta, as Danny Zuko, owns this throughline. He has the star power and acts as the story's protagonist, however, the white keds we skip in belong to Sandy. She's "no stranger to heartbreak" and neither are we. Sandy is concerned with the progress she is making in a "fish out of water" situation--a virginal Aussie transplanted to raunchy Rydell in her senior year of high school. As her influence character, Danny maintains a fixed attitude--he has a black leather jacket with the collar up image to uphold and must keep his tender impulses in check.

The relationship story throughline is explored in the physics domain as Sandy and Danny engage in (doing) typical high school sweetheart rituals--dating, quarreling, making up, making out. Their relationship mirrors what transpires in the objective story--the difficulties teens encounter manipulating the twists and turns of high school angst. Though this set of seniors "rule the school," it's not academics that are of any concern (goal)--it's to be cool.

Important to the storytelling, as with many musicals, are the songs. In Grease, they indicate a plot point, for example, the effort to make Kenickie's hot rod cherry in "Greased Lightnin." Lyrics also give voice to internal thoughts; "Alone at a Drive-in Movie" reveals Danny's shaken confidence (thematic issue) and Sandy's growth of start is illustrated in "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee (Reprise)" as she resolves to change.

Sewn up in black spandex, Sandy feels good (story judgment) and she, Danny, and the gang shooby doo-wop doo-wop through the last day of school. It's a success (outcome) story that ". . . offers a responsible moral: act like a tart and you'll get your guy; but, hey, it's all in fun anyway" (Videohound, 1998, p. 360).

About the Author

KE Monahan Huntley is an editor and publisher based in Southern California. As one of the original contributors to Dramatica, she helped edit and analyze many of the examples. In addition, her numerous articles provided an insightful "conversational" approach to the theory. Today she can be found at Write Between the Lines or follow her on Twitter @kemhuntley.

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