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September 13, 2005

changing the subject

Treadwell, Machinal (Scenes 1-5) -- Drama as Literature (EL 250)

I find that the offstage voices in the second episode is a sort of forshadowing device used by the author. While the YOUNG WOMAN is trying to make a life changing decision by attempting to consult her mother, there are other conversations off stage that occur. I think that they're use as an effect to prove to the audience what kind of situation YOUNG WOMAN is going throughLike the husband and wife dialog:

HUSBAND'S VOICE. What's the matter - don't you want me to kiss you?

WIFE'S VOICE. Not like that.


WIFE'S VOICE. That silly kiss!

HUSBAND'S VOICE. Silly kiss?

WIFE'S VOICE. You look so silly - oh I know what's coming when you look like that - and kiss me like that - don't - go away -

I think this scene is reminding the audience of some of the bad moments in marriage. However in the dialoge before it, between the boy and the girl, they are in love and are excited. I think that Treadwell, is showing in the background the stages of love. She's also trying to foreshadow the importance of YOUNG WOMAN's decision. She may end up like the husband and wife. Does, she really want to marry this guy? Do you think that Treadwell is doing this on purpose or not? Maybe for some other reason?

Posted by AndrewLoNigro at September 13, 2005 11:50 AM


That's a great observation, Andy. I really didn't pick up on that.

I definatly don't think the Young Woman wants to marry "Husband". In the beginning of Episode Three she pulls away from him when he tries to kiss her, gets annoyed when he starts to tell a story, and at the end she cries frantically for her mother.

Posted by: Amanda at September 13, 2005 02:26 PM

Yeah, I think you might be on to something with the background offstage conversations serving the purpose of highlighting stages of relationships and different kinds of relationships. When I first read it, it seemed really confusing but what you say makes sense. And I also thought maybe they could be some sort of flashbacks from the mother's life...or in the case of the little boy and girl, maybe even the Young Woman's. I thought maybe the conversation about marriage perhaps brought back memories or something. But it is hard to say, although I believe Treadwell definitely did it on purpose.

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at September 13, 2005 04:34 PM

I agree with you ANDY!!! I think that the offstage voices are trying to show the audience or the reader what love is really supposed to be like, spontaneous and romantic. I think he is doing this on purpose to really make the young woman think again about marrying him.

Posted by: Denamarie at September 13, 2005 04:47 PM

There's a conversation between a boy and his mother in that scene as well. What does that mean:

"WOMAN'S VOICE. Johnny - Johnny - come in now!
WOMAN'S VOICE. It's getting cold.
A SMALL BOY'S VOICE. You heard me!"

Why are these conversation important? Are they foreshadowing or just voices in her head?

Posted by: Kayla Sawyer at September 13, 2005 09:07 PM

Kayla, maybe they're the stages of mother hood. I don't really know for sure but that is one possiblity.

Posted by: Andy LoNigro at September 14, 2005 01:04 AM

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