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The play 'Night Mother by Marsha Norman - Review.

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Introduction

The play 'Night Mother by Marsha Norman is the story of a daughter reassessing her life's direction. Faced with the perception that her life no longer has a meaningful purpose, this young woman has come to a critical moment of decision. This one act play tells of the night when she informs her mother who she lives with, of her choice. Suspense builds as the mother desperately tries to alter her daughter's plans. The story is about a mother and daughter who plays out a psychological drama that is the culmination of a lifetime of poor communication and lifetime of poor communication and limited understanding. The dynamics of poor communication and inadequate listening are beautifully dramatized giving the reader the chance to examine how family detachments can occur in such a setting. Additionally, 'Mama' thinks that she and her daughter are having a normal Saturday night at the house until she finds out that her daughter has planned to end her life. At first, Thelma, 'Mama' thinks that her daughter is teasing when she asks for her father's gun to shoot herself. Thelma responds that the likelihood is that Jessie will only shoot off her ear and turn herself into a vegetable. This is an important exchange because it sets the story course of exploring the emotional course of bother Jessie's life and her life with her mother. ...read more.

Middle

Jessie: "And I can't do anything about my life to change it, make it better but I can stop it." This brilliant piece of dialogue, spare, evocative and tightly written cuts through to the heart for Jessie's motive for wanting to die. Further into the story, it is revealed why one of Thelma's friends refuses to visit their house, because she has seen death in Jessie's eyes. This is a deeper step into the author using what is at stake for Jessie- life or death- to explore the reality of Jessie's life. For probably the first time ever in their relationship, Thelma speaks the truth to Jessie. This causes Jessie to dig deeper for the truth and ask her mother whether or not she ever truly loved her father. Again, Thelma speaks a truth she's never voiced before. It leads up to a revelation that Thelma suspected that Jessie's father also suffered from the same seizures that have always pestered Jessie's life. The secrets Thelma keeps hidden, spills out in a 'downpour'. Subsequently, Jessie and Thelma talk about Jessie's ex-husband whom Thelma schemingly introduced to her. During the marriage, Jessie fell off a horse and the accident was thought to have led to her epileptic disorder. One of the truths however, that comes out was that Jessie began having epileptic fits as a child, but Thelma kept it hidden. ...read more.

Conclusion

the sacredness of one's right to control his or her own fate and the wisdom of respecting that when all other options are taken away. This profoundly moving play develops its drama not from hiding what is at stake-Jessie's overhanging death- but by setting it out in a manner that the author develops drama around the outcome of the question: will Jessie kill herself? It is the nature of drama, that there can only be a story if there is a determinant to what sets the story into motion. 'Night mother is an example of where something obvious and abrupt-Jessie's impending death- can give dramatic meaning to common events such as making cocoa or eating a caramel apple. Norman excels in setting up the issue at the beginning of the story in a way that it connects with the readers. By making what is at stake in the story clear and direct, the author frees herself to begin the task that should face every storyteller, that is, bringing the readers fully into and involved with the world a story's characters inhabit and seek to shape. 'Night mother is a gut-wrenching story that deals with relationships and the search for the true meaning of life. This is a story that compels admiration and Norman deserves praise for her great piece of work and for excelling in the art of storytelling. ...read more.

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