Sure Thing

Sure Thing

Sure Thing

Sure Thing

, a short story by Ring Lardner, published in 1920, is a humorous and insightful examination of the complexities of human relationships. The story revolves around two main characters:


, a slick and self-assured salesman, and


, a woman he meets at a speakeasy. Jimmy, who is known for his ability to charm women, sets his sights on Marge and manages to convince her to go out with him the following night. However, when Jimmy arrives at her apartment, he learns that Marge has already made plans for the evening with another man.

Instead of being deterred, Jimmy, with his quick wit and smooth talk, convinces Marge to call off her date and spend the evening with him instead.


who is initially skeptical of Jimmy’s sincerity, eventually gives in to his charm and spends the night with him. However, as the evening progresses, Marge begins to see through Jimmy’s façade and realizes that he is not the man she thought he was.


this revelation, Marge allows Jimmy to stay the night, and in the morning, she sends him on his way with a small token of her affection. The story ends with Jimmy reflecting on the experience, acknowledging that while he may have won the night, he lost something much more valuable: the respect and admiration of a woman.

Through the interactions between Jimmy and Marge, Lardner explores themes of deception, manipulation, and the human desire for connection. The story’s unexpected twists and turns make it a timeless classic that continues to resonate with readers today.

A Deep Dive into Marlon Hanson’s Play: “The Boys Next Door”

I. Introduction


Marlon Hanson’s “The Boys Next Door“, a compelling play that premiered in 1985, offers a profound exploration into the lives of four developmentally challenged adults living together in a communal residence. Hanson’s poignant storytelling gained him recognition as an influential voice in American theater, particularly for his nuanced portrayals of marginalized characters.


The backdrop for this transformative journey is a college campus during the 1980s or 90s – a time of significant social change and heightened awareness of various social issues. The college setting adds layers of complexity to the narrative, as the characters navigate their lives against the backdrop of academic rigor and the evolving cultural landscape.

Central Themes


Hanson’s play delves into the intricacies of race relations, as the characters grapple with their own racial identities and prejudices, both self-inflicted and from external sources.


The play also tackles the complexities of gender and its intersection with disability, as the male characters experience feelings of masculinity, attraction, and love.


Masculinity is a central theme, as the characters challenge traditional definitions and expectations of masculine identity. They struggle with societal perceptions and internal conflicts, ultimately embracing their unique identities.


Lastly, Hanson masterfully explores the complexities of intimacy and its manifestations in various forms – romantic, platonic, and familial. The characters’ experiences illustrate the universal human desire for connection and belonging.

Join us as we delve deeper into Marlon Hanson’s groundbreaking play, “The Boys Next Door”, where themes of race, gender, masculinity, and intimacy intertwine in a poignant exploration of the human condition.

Sure Thing



A black male student with a confidence that radiates through the room. His charisma is undeniable, but beneath the surface, Billy harbors deep insecurities about his masculinity. He constantly seeks validation from his peers and is quick to lash out when challenged, masking the vulnerability that lies just beneath his tough exterior.


A white male student, introverted by nature. Michael’s mind is a labyrinth of intellect and knowledge, but his own sense of identity remains a mystery to him. He spends hours in the library, lost in thought, trying to make sense of the world around him. His quiet demeanor belies a deep longing for connection and belonging.


A black female student, outgoing and unapologetically confident in her


. Deana’s bold personality draws people to her, but it is her unwavering belief in herself that sets her apart. She is unafraid to take risks and speak her mind, even when it goes against the norm. Her strength and independence make her a force to be reckoned with.


A white female student, attractive and seemingly untouchable due to her popularity. Emily’s beauty is undeniable, but it is her apathy towards deep connections that sets her apart. She moves through life with a cool indifference, never allowing herself to be truly vulnerable. Her detachment leaves those around her yearning for something more.

Sure Thing

I Act One

Scene 1: Billy and Michael meet at a party, bond over their shared experiences of racism and marginalization

In the opening scene of Act One, two men, Billy (a confident, charming African American) and Michael (an introverted, thoughtful Asian American), find themselves in the same corner of a crowded party. The oppressive atmosphere of racism and marginalization hangs heavy over them, forming an instant bond between the two strangers. Amidst the clamor of the party, Billy expresses his discontent with the superficial nature of relationships and his longing for a “sure thing” – a woman who is guaranteed to sleep with him. Michael, visibly uncomfortable with the conversation, voices his concerns about the pressures of masculinity and the hollow promises of such encounters.

Scene 2: Billy meets Deana, who is intrigued by his confidence and charisma

Scene 2: The atmosphere shifts as Billy enters the nightclub, where he catches the eye of Deana, a vibrant and captivating woman. Their flirtatious banter ignites an undeniable chemistry between them, leading to an elaborate dance routine that culminates in their first kiss. As they sway together under the flickering lights, it becomes apparent that Billy’s confidence and charisma have won her over.

Scene 3: Michael meets Emily, who seems uninterested in him but he is determined to win her over

Scene 3: Simultaneously, Michael engages with Emily, a woman who seems uninterested in his advances. Undeterred, he tries to impress her with his intellect and wit, but she remains distant and aloof. Determined not to let this deter him, Michael persists in his pursuit of Emily, hoping that beneath her cool exterior lies a woman worthy of his affection.

Themes of identity, masculinity, and the complexities of human relationships unfold as Billy and Michael navigate their own personal journeys in this intricately woven narrative.
Stay tuned for more insights into Act One as we continue to explore the captivating world of these compelling characters.

Sure Thing

Act Two

Scene 1: Billy and Michael’s Discussion on Women and Masculinity

Billy and Michael continue their heartfelt conversation in Act Two, Scene 1. While Billy exudes a confident exterior, he admits to feeling inadequate in his sexual relationships. He boldly confesses, “I often feel small and insignificant, like I’m not enough for the women I’ve been with.” Michael, empathizing with Billy’s struggle, shares his own internal battle. He feels the weight of societal expectations to be the epitome of masculinity and wistfully admits, “I’ve spent so long trying to live up to these false ideals that I hardly recognize who I truly am.” Their conversation highlights the complex nature of masculinity and the pressure men face in today’s society.

Scene 2: Billy’s Insecurity with Deana

In Act Two, Scene 2, Billy and Deana continue to deepen their romantic connection. However, when she expresses her longing for a more meaningful and emotional bond, Billy grows insecure. He becomes increasingly possessive, causing a rift between them. In a heated moment, he blurts out, “How can you want more from me when I thought we had something real?” Deana is taken aback by Billy’s jealousy, leaving both of them feeling hurt and confused.

Scene 3: Michael’s New Relationship and Billy’s Resentment

Michael finds solace in Emily, developing a deeper connection with her in Act Two, Scene 3. Billy, however, cannot help but feel resentment towards this new relationship. He confronts both Deana and Emily about his feelings, leading to a bitter conflict between all three characters. Billy’s insecurities come to a head as he exclaims, “Why can’t I have what you both have?” This scene showcases the destructive power of jealousy and the importance of communication in relationships.
Sure Thing

Act Three: A Newfound Appreciation for Genuine Connection and Self-Acceptance

Scene 1:

In this scene, Billy experiences a profound realization about the importance of forging genuine connections and embracing self-acceptance. He recognizes that his past quest for validation through women had left him emotionally hollow. With newfound sincerity, Billy approaches Deana, apologizes for his past transgressions, and attempts to make amends. Though the outcome of this scene remains uncertain, Billy’s epiphany sets the stage for personal growth that will unfold throughout the remainder of the act.

Scene 2:

As the scene shifts focus to Michael and Emily, their relationship continues to flourish as they come to terms with their own insecurities and desires. In this scene, they acknowledge the complexities of intimacy and the importance of honest communication. As they navigate through their emotional landscapes, Michael and Emily learn to appreciate one another’s quirks and vulnerabilities. This scene serves as a testament to the power of open dialogue and mutual understanding in fostering strong, healthy relationships.

Scene 3:

The play concludes with each character reflecting on their personal growth and the lessons they have learned about love, relationships, and themselves.


realizes that true connection comes from within and that self-acceptance is the key to unlocking deeper, more meaningful relationships.


and Emily recognize the importance of valuing their partner’s individuality and embracing the complexities of their own desires. Through these revelations, the characters gain a newfound appreciation for authentic connection and self-growth, providing a poignant and heartwarming conclusion to this thought-provoking play.

VI. Conclusion

In Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie,” themes of race, gender, and masculinity are intricately explored through the experiences of the protagonist, Tom Wingfield (Joaquin Phoenix), and his family members: Billy (John Boyega), Michael (Jeremy Strong), Deana (Carey Mulligan), and Emily (Elisabeth Moss).

Themes of Race, Gender, and Masculinity

Tom’s struggle with his own sense of identity is further complicated by the presence of Billy, a Black coworker whom he invites over for dinner. The play delves into the complexities of race and gender dynamics in the 1930s American South, as well as the societal expectations placed upon masculinity. Similarly, Emily’s desire for self-fulfillment and her longing for a romantic partner challenge traditional gender roles and societal norms of the time.

Intimacy, Self-Acceptance, and Communication

At the core of the story are the intricacies of intimacy, self-acceptance, and communication within relationships. Williams masterfully explores the ways in which societal pressures can impact personal connections, as seen through Tom’s longing for escape and his strained relationship with his mother Amanda (Judith Ivey). Furthermore, the play challenges audiences to reconsider their own beliefs about relationships and the societal pressures that shape them.

Challenging Audiences

In “The Glass Menagerie,” Williams presents a thought-provoking examination of the human condition, inviting audiences to reflect upon their own experiences and societal expectations. Through its vivid portrayal of complex characters and intricate themes, this timeless play continues to resonate with audiences today.


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