Night Mother

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The play ‘Night Mother, written by Marsha Norman, is very different from other playwrights. Norman bases the play on suicide, a topic that is sensitive to some, and not usually talked about. Norman discusses this very controversial topic, allowing the audience to draw their own conclusion on if suicide is ever a justifiable act. Yet, Norman had the intention of persuading the reader that suicide may be acceptable and is understandable in certain situations. Most audiences are against suicide, and Norman's purpose in writing this play is to open the minds of the audience, and to show suicide can be a rational, thought-out process.

Norman creates a character, Jessie, whom she anticipates the audience will sympathize with. Jessie has come to the conclusion that she no longer has a purpose in the world. Jessie has lost every thing that made her life worth living. To begin with, her husband, Cecil, divorced her and her son, Ricky, is a criminal neither of them want anything to do with her. In addition, she has seizures that take control of her body and mind, which leads her to be very unstable mentally and physically. Jessie does not have a job or a hobby and she feels that her life is completely useless. Jessie could never really hold a job, she lacked the communication skills to be around other people. Jessie blames her seizures as to why she cannot maintain a job. She said, "I could have a seizure any time. What good would a job do?" (p. 1472). Jessie uses her illness as an excuse and does not have any interest on trying to find a job, or even happiness.

She feels she has failed as a wife, mother, and daughter. She also believes she will never become happy and accepts it by deciding to stop the pain by means of putting an end to her life. She trusts she has finally gained control of her mind and thinks suicide has become her purpose in life and she will not fail at it. She decides that her life is all that belongs to her and she can "say...
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