April 28, 2004

Nothing but a comma

Upon reading the play W;t, i analyzed many aspects of it today in Lit class. The main things i would like to share pertain to one simple line of the play, definitely my favorite line...

Brevity is the soul of wit (Pg 35). Stef, slightly confused as to the meanings, looked both of these words up in the dictionary. Stefs original definition of the line: "Shortness of time is the soul of intelligence." I thought it was a great idea that Stef did this, i managed to form some conclusions of my own, and i think that this key line makes for the entire play. Vivian declares on Pg 61 that "...but they can think for themselves only so long before they begin to self-destruct." When she initially says brevity is the soul of wit, she is primarily presenting this idea that she mentions on Pg 61, and is only shown further proof of it when her student stumbles upon his words. "Um...its like the more you hide, the less, no wait, the more you are getting closer" (Pg 61). One final point pertaining to this statement, she sticks to this when she decides to go DNR rather than code blue. Something can only go on for so long, before it weakens and eventually fails. In turn, her entire deal with cancer ties in with the statemen brevity is the soul of wit, eventually, she will weaken and die, the meds can only help for so long. Also, one of Vivians students brings up an analyzation of Donnes complexity "I think its like hes hiding. I think hes really confused. . . hides behind all this complicated stuff, hides behind this wit" (Pg 60). I think that this is an analyzation of Vivian. The more i read the story, the more i began to think that she is no more than a soft, sensitive little girl, hiding behind the leadership role of a teacher. Vivian finally realizes in the end that she can no longer hide behind her complexity. I don't think she is stupid in the least, i just think that she is not as intellectual as she tries to be, so she attempts to put on a false front, thinking that if she knows the material and teaches it to less knowledgeable students, she will look smart to them. Basically, she hides behind complexity, much as her student thinks Donne does. Also, i think Death be not proud has a lot of influence on this play. For example, in the second to last line of Death be not proud, "One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally" (Pg 30), Donne is saying that much like a comma to Vivian, to him, death is nothing but a pause. I think this line is portrayed in the last scene of the play, where Vivian comes to her end. She is wearing no clothes, and it going into the light, which i think symbolizes a new beginning. Therefore, this ties in with the last line, which states that death is nothing but a pause, Vivian is going as she came into this world, right into another one. I think the ending is very beautiful, with her nudeness and the light, and its just simply a pause in her existence, much as death, and a comma are.

Ok, so perhaps that had more analyzation than just pertaining to that particular line, but its still my favorite, and i believe i brought up all of the points i mentioned in class today that i wanted to further discuss. Brevity is the soul of wit is still the best line in the play though. :)

Posted by Lori Rupert at April 28, 2004 01:26 AM

If my memory serves me correctly, "Brevity is the soul of wit" is actually a line from Hamlet. It's kind of ironic that the line we talked about most in the play was actually written by Shakespeare, and not Donne?

Posted by: Johanna at April 29, 2004 12:24 AM

You know, i read Hamlet....hmm..i don't remember that line, perhaps it was because i wasn't fond of the play..i didn't think the line was by Donne, i thought it was something Vivian came up with, i just think it related to the play though, and alot of Donne related to the play. However, it is interesting that the line is by Shakespear rather than a line made up for that book.

Posted by: Lori at April 29, 2004 10:50 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?