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September 14, 2005

Crazy second half

Treadwell, Machinal (Finish) -- Drama as Literature (EL 250)

I have a few things to talk. I'd just like to say that this play is crazy. I didn't particularly like the end because it was difficult to find the message.

In episode 7, the tension between Helen and her husband was killing me!

YOUNG WOMAN. I'm reading.
HUSBAND. What you reading?
HUSBAND. Must be something.

Come on!!! This happens so many times in that episode. She is obviously playing stupid and he doesn't seem to pick up on it. Like Chera said, he could be ignoring it.

The other thing was in episode 9, Helen keeps crying out, "Father, Father!" Later on in the dialog, we know that she is refering to the priest. But what if she was crying to the true father for help, God. Maybe she was starting to think about her religious situation.

The final thought was, in the same episode when the mother came to see Helen, she didn't even have a speaking line before she was taken away. Why didn't Treadwell, have the mother at least give Helen some consolance. It just seemed that Helen was crying out for help and no one would help her. In a way, I kind of feel for her, even though she did so many things wrong. I think she's just lost in her life.

Posted by AndrewLoNigro at September 14, 2005 09:34 PM


I love her mechanical replies. It's like she's been through it a hundred times:

"YOUNG WOMAN. (by rote). Did you put it over?

MAN. Sure I put it over.

YOUNG WOMAN. Did you swing it?

MAN. Sure I swung it.

YOUNG WOMAN. Did they come through?

MAN. Sure they came through.

YOUNG WOMAN. Did they sign?

MAN. I'll say they signed.

YOUNG WOMAN. On the dotted line?

MAN. On the dotted line."

It's no wonder she killed him.

Posted by: Kayla Sawyer at September 14, 2005 10:00 PM

Andy - the lack of comforting from the mother is a great observation; perhaps Treadwell did this because it shows that sometimes we can't achieve comfort from even those who know us well. Sometimes what we want in life gets in the way and ruins some of our most personal relationships. But, the mother-daughter relationship? How sad.

Posted by: Katie Aikins at September 15, 2005 12:19 AM

I think "lost" is a great word to describe the Young Woman in this play. She is definitely not sure of who she is or what she wants. And I also felt really bad for her at the end when her mother came to see her but didn't say a word.
And I also find it interesting that it is just before she dies that she starts being concerned about her child and she seems to feel guilty for not knowing her. That also made me feel sad for both her, and the child because the child will grow up without any parents.

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at September 15, 2005 01:12 AM

Lorin, that's another interesting point. I wonder why she doesn't worry about her child until that point. Like I said, maybe she has finally learned her lesson: she must look at the big picture. She makes some decisions that don't turn out good in the end because she just wants instant happiness.

Posted by: Andy Lonigro at September 15, 2005 08:37 AM

I never felt a religious pull from the play, until the end. I was torn between thinking the young woman was crying out either for God, her real father, or her husband. After all, the husband was more of a father-protector than a loving husband.

Posted by: Katie Lambert at September 15, 2005 12:00 PM

I severally doubt that the play was that bad, Andy. But I would tell you this, never mess with a person who is in a bad relationship. When they described the murder in the courtroom I was horrified (Better that a King Novel). She did that to her husband? It was a little bit hard to believe. So in Ep. 9 when she calls out to "father" I think it was God because God is the only person that could get you out of that situation.

Posted by: Kevin Hinton at September 15, 2005 05:20 PM

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