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April 27, 2006

Death be not Proud

Edson, Wit -- Jerz: Intro to Literary Study (EL150)

I really enjoyed reading Wit. This play is very complicated and requires more than just a quick skim. I think the approach that Edson used by having Vivian narrorate the play kept the audience's attention. It also left it open for humor which I really enjoyed. I liked this play because it challenged me to think and to try to make connections, some of which lead to dead ends. Like Jason said about Donne:

SUSIE: But what happens in the end?

JASON: End of what?

SUSIE: To John Donne. Does he ever get it?

JASON: Get what?

SUSIE: His Salvation Anxiety. Does he ever understand?

JASON: Oh, no way. The puzzle takes over. You're not even trying to solve it anymore. Fascinating, really. Great training for lab research. Looking at things in increasing levels of complexity.

I kind of made a relation between this and the play itself. It is very complex and offers many suggestions for deeper thinking. But, I think that Margaret Edson did this intentionally to get her point across.

To me Vivian is a very strong-willed person. She doesn't show affection and she is comfortable when she has control of everything, including her classroom. What I see in the story is a person who only knows her work and isn't emotionally connected to anyone. She's lonely During the course of the play I see Vivian realizing that she is dying, reaching out for someone to relate to, or to give her positive feedback. She finds this in Susie, who isn't smart, and isn't a person that Vivian would normally associate with. But now that she's dying, she needs someone and Susie is there to share a laugh with her. On page 69, Vivian says, "I can't believe my life has become so... corny." And at the end of her speech she says, "Now is a time for simplicity. Now is a time for, dare I say it, kindness."

Another interesting point I feel is a place in the play in which I feel a reversal takes place. Perhaps not a reversal of the entire play but definately a reversal of roles. On page 78 when Professor Ashford comes to see Vivian in the hospital I think it shows how worn out and exhausted Vivian is. As I was reading, I found myself thinking that her whole life, Vivian has been in a teacher or a parent role. She has always had control and now she doesn't. She is out of her comfort zone and has nothing left but tears. Prof. Ashford in this case takes the role of the teacher and now Vivian is the student.

As a side note, I made an ironic connection between John Donne's "Death be not Proud" and Vivian facing death. She faces without emotion and with a stern and authoritative front. She is able to console in literature because that's all that she has had for her life. So she is portaying the death of fear.

Posted by AndrewLoNigro at April 27, 2006 09:44 PM

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Andy, it's great to see you making these connections. I told you "Death Be Not Proud" would come back, and you jumped right in.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at April 28, 2006 01:43 PM


Vivian must not have heard the song "Don't Fear The Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult.

"40,000 men and women everyday"
Even though so many people die everyday, it a lot different when death is breathing down your neck.

By Vivian mentioning the Donne poem most likely gave her goosebumps (It gave them to me). I don't think that the fear of dying itself scared her, but the fact that class is dismissed and she has no control over what is going to happen. I think Donne would be the last poem someone would recite if the end was near for them.

PAY ATTENTION TO THIS PLAY ANDY... I think that this might be one of us one day.

Posted by: Kevin "Kelo The Great" Hinton at May 2, 2006 01:06 AM

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