The Letterbox

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The Letterbox Essay
By Lori Provan

“The Letterbox” By Ann Marie Di Mambro is a dramatic monologue which discusses the theme of domestic violence. This essay will look at how the author uses a wide range of intense techniques to explore the theme.

In “The Letterbox” housewife, Martha, has to suffer with her ruthless husband. Having been thrown out, Martha is slouched on a landing of her own flat. Throughout the monologue, she speaks to her young daughter, Wendy, through the letterbox. During their conversation only Martha can be heard. We can hear that she makes many unacceptable excuses to her young daughter made by the victims of domestic abuse. Her parenting skills are being questioned because of her instructions that are putting young Wendy under a lot of pressure.

This essay will examine the following: how significant the title is; the fact that the monologue is distributed into two separate sections about Martha’s different excuses for her husband’s behaviour; the fact that the dramatic monologue is framed by the brief appearance of a young couple whose response to Martha’s situation makes it quite clear of theirs and the public’s intolerance. Also, Martha’s conversation with Wendy raises questions about the lesson she is teaching Wendy for her future life.

The title of this dramatic monologue is successful as it gives nothing away about the play. A letterbox was designed to deliver messages or letters in and out of the outer world. Martha is sending messages to Wendy from outside of the flat. These messages are loaded with the significance about the difficulties of adult relations of which Wendy is far too young to understand. Therefore “The Letterbox” is an effective title because we understand that domestic violence is hidden of not fully understood.

Besides this, a supplementary way the author deals with domestic violence is through Martha’s shameful excuses for her husband’s disgraceful behaviour. To express this, Martha feeds Wendy...
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