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Difference Between Life and Your Life's Work

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

"I know. I can't figure things out. I'm in a...quandary, having these...doubts."

I couldn't put this play down. I thought that the most interesting part of this play was the connection between Vivian and her former student Jason. Both Vivian and Jason lived almost completely for their work. Vivian for her teaching and research and Jason for his research of cancer.

It wasn't until Vivian was diagnosted with the worse stage of ovarian cancer, recieving the strongest treatments, and completely alone, that she realized there was more to life than work. She was lonely, nobody visited her, and nobody cared that she was dying. She had nobody to share memories with and had no one to leave her personal memories to.

Through the transformation in Vivian's character, she also helps Jason realize that there is more to life than research. We see in the final scenes that Jason wants Vivian to live longer, just so his research may continue. He had almost monsterous qualities as her went against Vivian's no code, but it hit him like a ton of bricks, that Vivian's wishes were more important than furthering his knowledge.

This is probably my favorite piece we have read all semester and I think it has a great message, but it also has irony, even some humor, within the serious meaning.


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Comments (4)

I think this might be my favorite out of all we read, too. That's very interesting; I never really thought about Jason's character that much. But you're right, that could be interpreted as a weightier realization than he just gave the wrong code; he could actually be realizing that the hard-working researcher he looked up to agreed to finally let go and not complicate things for once in her life. When he yells "I MADE A MISTAKE!" it's almost like he's talking about his whole approach to life. Ooo, that's cool! I always thought that Vivian and Susie were the more interesting characters in the story, but there's definitely more to Jason than meets the eye.

Margaret Jones:

This was my favorite piece we read this semester as well. I think it's interesting how you note the relationship Jason had at the beginning with Vivian to the end when he finally let the research go in order to do what was truly best for his old professor.


There was an odd relationship between Jason and Vivian as well. I mean, Vivian and her nurse have a semi-normal relationship because that's what we would expect from a nurse. But how strange would it be to have a former student be, in essence, your gynocologist? Or the revese? I think a lot of us don't really think about once college is over, but we too could end up having situations like these... Well, I don't think any of us are planning to be doctors, so it probably wouldn't be quite this awkward, but still. It made me think about how I would react to having someone I respected in a vulnerable position to me. I can't imagine how surreal it would be.

Corey Struss:

Best thing we have read all semester, no doubt.

It was great to see that you realized that Jason and Vivian both lived for what they worked. Although their relationship may have been odd, they were both in love with what they did, and did everything they could to teach about this cancer.

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