Too Forward? I think so...

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Whatever happened to writers using literature to hide the meanings of their work? Remember when we had to break down the symbols in order to argue over the author's message? Remember the ambiguity of these messages and the arguments that would be sparked from these symbols? I don't see it out of Wilder...

I think Wilder is too upfront with his messages. Sabina comes right out and says "We're all just as wicked as we can be, and that's the God's truth." Then there's the whole scene between the Antrobuses where they discuss losing their desire to start over again. Wilder just comes right out and says it. Sabina is painted as a negative nancy from the beginning and nothing changes. She's the perfect Hobbes. The world is all evil and blah blah blah. Now, there's nothing wrong with making a character be that way, but I think that it should be hidden behind their actions and subtly worked in through their words. Their lines shouldn't just come right out and say "This si the message that the author wants me to deliver to you."

Maybe it's just me, but I think that if you say your ideas behind symbolism and actions then it's literature, and if you just say them up front then it's activism or philosophy. I felt like Wilder just went right out and said it and left little to be interpreted by the reader.



But the problem with all literature is that you can't really know for sure that a certain statement is the author's viewpoint, even if he or she has a character come right out and say something that sounds like a philosophical stance. Just because Sabina says that we're all wicked doesn't necessarily mean Thornton Wilder believes that or wants that to be the main message of the play. He also has her condemn the playwright and claim that nothing in the play makes sense. The nature of her character is that she is a loud, opinionated woman who has no problem with stopping an entire performance to let her opinions be known, so it doesn't bother me that she comes right out and states what her beliefs are. In fact, I think by the end of the play there is a much more positive view of humanity than the viewpoint Sabina takes. Humans have gone through all this hardship, and yet they still are able to go on. Characters often say what they believe just like people do, but I think it's rare that a writer has one character be his or her mouthpiece; they may include bits and pieces of their own philosophy, or have them say something entirely contradictory, but rarely does one character say exactly what the author thinks.

Christopher Dufalla said:

Authors can work in mysterious ways. I must agree with Matt. While Wilder's play might seem rather straight-forward and obvious, that doesn't necessarily mean that he supports everything within it. Matt brings up a good point with the interruptions throughout the play. There is ridicule of the playright within his own play. What does this tell us?

Sometimes straight-forwardness is an effective style. A message is delivered well and creatively. Kurt Vonnegut uses similar straight-forward tones within his literature. It is effective, but it is slightly limiting. Nevertheless, the audience is not left in the dark.

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