Humor in Tragedy: It Does Exist

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Jason: Thyroid, diabetes, cancer?

Vivian: No- cancer, yes.

Jason: When?

Vivian: Now. (Wit 24)


Vivian: This is much easier.  I just hold still and look cancerous.  It requires less acting every time. (Wit 37)



Although this play is emotional and dramtic, there is still an element of humor.  I chose a couple of quotes that literally made me laugh out loud.  When I looked over the desciption of the play, I felt like I was going to start reading something that would depress me.  Yes, it is depressing at the end, especially when she is suffering from a large amount of pain.  It reminds me of how some peoplebelieve that it is not the end of a journey that matters, it's getting there that's worth while.  The end is tragic, but the journey itself was amusing with irony, humor, and real life lessons. 


Just a side note of something that bothered me:

(Susie returns with an orange two-stick Popsicle.  Vivian unwraps it and breaks it in half.)

It is really hard to break a Popsicle after unwrapping it because my hands get sticky or it doesn't break right.  It's easier to break the Popsicles while they are still wrapped.  That way, when they are unwrapped, they are broken well and there is no mess.


That's an interesting point about the popsicles... my guess is that the audience needed to see Vivian unwrap it first so it was clear what it was, and then have her break it so that her choice to share it seems comes after the audience has registered that Vivian wants the popsicle (but also wants human company).

Greta Carroll said:

The journey is important, but facing her death I think is really what woke up Vivian to her mistakes in the past and her lack of compassion. Having little time left accelerated her journey. I also enjoyed how there was humor and irony—wit as Vivian would say—included in the book. And while I agree that the ending was not overly happy, I don’t think it was too sad. Vivian was going towards the light after all.

Angela Palumbo said:

Ha...Greta! Your comment made me think about how ironic it is that she treated her students with a complete lack of compassion and then in the end, jason treats her the same way. Talk about revenge!
Also, I guess I can see what you mean about the popsicles. They do, in fact, break apart weird and often times half of one of the popsicles remains attached to the other. This would be especially difficult to act out on stage because it would not work out correctly.

Stephanie Wytovich said:

I'm glad that you laughed out loud a few times, because I felt a little guilty that I was laughing during this play, but I couldn't help it seeing that Vivian did have a saracastic sense of humor!

Oh and the popcicle thing bothered me too.

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