What is the significance of Oscars character?
Oscar is the personification of the immigration problem all the main characters face. He also is the main antagonist. With majority of the characters all working together at the Olstead plant, the main conflict they all face is losing their jobs to cheaper immigrant workers. This is revealed in scene 5 and at the end of Act 1. Oscar is the only “immigrant” in the play (I put the word immigrant in quotations because he really isn’t but is perceived as one by all the other characters in the play). Its amazing that Nottage was able to put this much meaning into a character while simultaneously have them do nothing for majority of the play.
Why is the olstead mill left unseen.
The olstead mill is the main place of action in the play. It’s the setting that brings all the characters together leaving it unseen gives the audience and reader more room for imagination By doing this Nottage engages the audience more into the world of the play without them even knowing. This is very similar to the unseen character technique like in waiting for Godot. It also emphasizes the effect of the obstacles in the play rather than showing the obstacles themselves.