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May 2, 2006

Going Out With Wit

Intro to Lit. Study--EL 150

Edson, Wit

What a way to end the semester. I think that I'm going to end up like Vivian in Wit, a stickler to the end. Is this what Jerz think of as a perfect English major? The fact that Vivian knew about the wonderful sonnets of John Donne (Funny, that she picked "Death Be Not Proud to evaluate) and used it to confort her in a time of need shows that she needs to be in control at all times. Vivian creeps closer to death and closer to the realization that she is not prepare for one of the basic events of life...death. I don't think that she was ever ready to go to that wonderful classroom in the sky.

Did she think that she is still needed here on Earth?
Maybe she was an esteemed professor (Jason talks about the teaching style of Vivian)

Is she afraid of what is on the other side?
At the end of the play she is conforted by an unseen force...May be God...her own conscience...who knows. But Vivian is very uncomfortable about dying, but it isn't noticable until she breaks down with E.M.

Does the English major community have something to look at in Vivian?
Absolutely, stickler to the end remember. I think in the vast world of our literary/grammatical/writing careers, we can look at several author that can confort us through hard times (Maybe some poetry... like Sylvia Plath) and maybe something for excitement ( King all the way!). Nevertheless, what seperates us for all other majors is that we can be creative and informative at the same time.

Wit could be the life and death of an English Major ( at least for me, since I striving, hoping, and praying to teach at the university level). This may have been the reason why this was assigned last.

Posted by KevinHinton at May 2, 2006 12:16 AM

Comments

Good discussion, Kevin! Although, while I loved the play, I felt that Vivian's character was often very harsh, cold, and condescending to her students. She seemed like the kind of professor at a "research university" instead of a "teaching university", as Dr. Jerz would say. She is better at publishing essays and lecturing than actually teaching her students and challenging them.

By the end of the play, she is completely alone and no longer the respected literary figure she once was. She was just a patient, a medical test subject, and ultimately just another statistic death of cancer. It was heartbreaking to see someone of that stature fall... but isn't that the definition of a good tragedy?

Good luck on becoming a professor... I know you'll be much kinder and gentler than she was!

Posted by: Mike Rubino at May 2, 2006 6:11 PM

This definitely showed me the kind of English teacher I don't want to be. I want to be apart of my students lives and theirs to be apart of mind. I find it hard not to get attached to people, even though we are advised not to. You make a good point that poems are a great source of comfort. As a fellow book worm, even re-reading some of my favorite Judy Blume books put me back in touch with my kid-side or when I just need a laugh. Ever read "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing?"

Posted by: Erin Waite at May 2, 2006 8:40 PM

Kevin you are too funny! I saw myself as Vivian, as well, being a stickler to the end. I agree with you about this being a great way to end the semester. This was such an enjoyable play to read with also some great topics to discuss about.

I see that there are a few of us who noticed Vivian's extreme change of personality about halfway through the play. It was definitely sad to see what someone could be like after they've felt the lost control of their own life, but like Mike said, that's great tragedy!

Good luck with teaching Kev!!

Posted by: AmandaNichols at May 2, 2006 8:43 PM

I also thought at times that Vivian was very harsh to people. She kind of thought she was better than everyone else because she was one of the best with Donne. I think that she hid behind her wit, which i talk about in my blog.
I think that she related very well with Donne and that she wasnt as strong as you think she is. She knew there was no hope for her so she just gave in. I kind of understand her reasoning, but if she was really strong, she would have stuck it a little longer.

Posted by: Denamarie Ercolani at May 2, 2006 10:07 PM

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