The Reprimand

Topics: Empathic concern, Audience theory, Empathy Pages: 2 (811 words) Published: July 17, 2012
Sympathy in The Reprimand
Sympathy is an extension of empathic concern, or the perception, understanding, and reaction to the distress or need of another human being. Sympathy must be given and received in order for the world to operate because all humans make mistakes that impact other people’s lives. The Reprimand is a short “phone play” written by Jane Anderson in 2000. The two characters, Rhona and Mim, have a confrontation about what Rhona believes to be an inappropriate remark during a meeting. In The Reprimand, Mim deserves the most sympathy from the audience because Rhona intentionally manipulates her into believing she is not respected by her male co-workers.

Mim deserves the most sympathy because Rhona tells her that she might have drawn the attention of the workers away from the project. Rhona says, “What concerns me- and concerns Jim by the way- is how this could have undermined the project” (Anderson 1783). This is Rhona’s first step in belittling Mim’s role within the staff working on the project. Whether or not Jim really was concerned with her comment is never revealed in the play, but the audience can only assume that Rhona is being truthful in saying that he was concerned. Mim’s comment was misinterpreted by Rhona which led to a heated discussion that Rhona took too far by saying, “He should respect you. But from what I’ve observed, I think- because you’re an attractive woman- that he still uses you for window dressing. Especially when you’re working with me. You know what I’m saying?” (Anderson 1784). This statement by Rhona gives the audience the sense that Jim is using Mim for one reason only and that is her looks. Most women do not like to hear that the only reason they are being kept around is because they are good looking. Therefore, Mim deserves the most sympathy from the audience because Rhona makes it clear to her that she is pretty useless to the men of the company except for her looks. Mim says during their...
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