Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The voice of “Wit” was that of an incredibly disheartened individual who is dealing with the reality of death. The main character, Vivian, seems to be grasping at any last shred of self worth in her life. As the play unfolds, she constantly refers back to the challenging poetic works of Donne. These poems, both confusing and somewhat tragic, serve as a central theme in the play. One scene in particular takes place when Vivian was a young student learning about Donne’s poetry, in which an instructor criticized Vivian for her blunt punctuation. The conversation focuses on the coma that separates the concepts of “life” and “death” rather than a semicolon or exclamation mark. This conversation serves purpose during Vivian’s final stages of cancer. Death is in fact barely separated from life. She learns that life is a transgression into death, as her cancer has slowly killed her. Edson does a phenomenal job of depicting a fear that everyone encounters: death. The play comes full circle when at the very end; Vivian is read a childhood story titled “The Runaway Bunny,” which is closely related to Vivian’s reflection upon her childhood love for Beatrix Potter novels. I felt that this final reading revealed the simplicity behind life. We spend time earning degrees and dissecting complicated literature as a way to become more “distinguished” individuals. However, Edson reveals how in the end simplicity is what we truly crave and comprehend.