Download e-book for iPad: The Playwright's Muse by Joan Herrington


By Joan Herrington

ISBN-10: 0815337795

ISBN-13: 9780815337799

First released in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Additional resources for The Playwright's Muse

Example text

As in her previous plays, she focuses on her protagonist's observations, perceptions, and choices, but in The Heidi Chronicles she does so with more of an eye to the pivotal political and cultural developments that characterize twentyfive years of American and feminist history. The large leaps in time provide a more fragmentary vision of the characters' lives and, as Christopher Bigsby argued, "eliminate psychological development" (1999, 347), pointing instead to the larger social significance of the events portrayed and their impact on the characters.

Wasserstein points to the double standard with which women in the public eye are measured and spectacularized when Lyssa-like Hillary-is judged on her attitude, appearance, and privileged status as opposed to her knowledge and abilities as a health expert. Thus the misplaced court notice for jury duty is less the reason for her downfall than the remark she made about her mother. As her husband, Walter, astutely points out to her: It's the women of America who are furious with you, Lizard. You're pretty, you have two great kids, you're successful, you're admired, you're thin, and you have a great soul.

The college scenes are book-ended with the women's reunion in 1978 after about a decade of feminist activism and politics. With this framing device Wasserstein places the two perspectives and times into a dialogical and historical relationship, allowing the women to take inventory and compare their former outlooks at graduation with the turns their lives have taken in the ensuing years. Mount Holyoke had already discontinued "Gracious Living" when the women graduated in 1972 (Wasserstein 1991, 66), but six years after college, the women's lives have not taken earth-shattering courses and are still largely characterized by confusion and dissatisfaction.

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The Playwright's Muse by Joan Herrington

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