April 29, 2013
In Water by the Spoonful, the author portrays Elliot as a military veteran who has had a rough life from a very young age. He lost his younger sister under bad parental circumstances, has a limp from being in the Iraq war, and works as a sandwich maker making his life not too significant. Elliott does not seem to have a lot of drive with going somewhere in life. He likes to stay in his comfort zone even if it means making sandwiches for a living instead of trying to persuade a professional career. For Elliott, change is something that brings him anxiety and stress similarly to the character of Margie from Good People. Margie is a single mother who is raising her handicapped adult daughter in the Southie Boston area. She has just lost her job and is in a tough financial situation. She is going to be evicted if she does not pay rent and tries to get an old friend, who happens to be her daughters’ father, to help her find employment. Both characters experience significant changes in their lives noted in both plays. Elliott has just lost his adoptive mother whom he lives with, and Margie has lost her job, in which she was living paycheck to paycheck. Elliott and Margie are going through difficult changes in their lives with significant events that have transpire but what they both fail to realize are their inner struggles within themselves and do not realize what truly is holding them back from making progress.
In the play Water by the Spoonful, Elliott does not handle stress situations very well. In Scene 3, when news of his adoptive mother, being admitted to the hospital reaches him, he physically shows rage and becomes violent. “Just smashed the bathroom mirror all over the floor. Boss sent me out to the parking lot” (Hudes 20), then Elliott not only shows physical violence towards his surroundings but also to himself, “I’m about to start walking down Lancaster Avenue for thirty miles till I get back to Philly and I don’t care if I snap every wire out my leg and back, I need to get out of here. I need to see Mom, I need to talk to her!” (Hudes 21) The anger at finding out the devastating news about his loved one is too much to bear for Elliott, and he resorts to becoming violent and thus shows he has a severe anger management problem. Instead of trying to find some peace, he goes to the gym to “blow off steam” and is revealed he has had four leg surgeries (Hudes 28). Later in the play, it is learn he is addicted to pain killers and with the mentioning of the leg surgeries and the pain he must feel, I believe it is safe to assume, not only was he trying to let steam out towards the end of the scene, but was also continuing his drug use.
In an article written by Theodore Dalrymple, there is a key phrase that states the reasons as to what someone can see in you when speaking up for yourself, “Parading one's vices is regarded as a sign of sincerity, maturity, willingness to change for the better, and fundamental goodness of heart” (NPN). All of these things are symbols of what Margie does not show throughout the play except her kind but naïve heart. In Scene 1, when Margie finds out she is being fired, she does not seem to take the news very seriously. At first, she ignores the points Stevie is making and for every reason he gives her as to why she is being fired, she seems to have a reason for why it happened. She mentions Dottie is not the most reliable babysitter, she’s not late every day, other employees call in sick all the time, she rather take a pay cut, and her daughter being handicapped limits her time to get to work among other things (Lindsay-Abaire I). Being a single mother of a handicapped adult daughter is very stressful. There have been many studies that show the effects it has on specifically single mothers. “Rearing a child with disabilities is a challenge, perhaps even more so for single parents who most...
Cited: Boyce, Glenna C., et al. "Single Parenting in Families of Children with Disabilities." Marriage & Family Review 20.3-4 (1995): 389-. ProQuest. Web. 27 Apr. 2013.
Dalrymple, Theodore. "IN THERAPY WE TRUST." The Wilson Quarterly 25.4 (2001): 147. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 27 Apr. 2013.
Hudes, Quiara Alegría. Water by the Spoonful. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 2012. Print. 23 Apr. 2013.
Lindsay-Abaire, David. Good People. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 2011. Print. 23 Apr. 2013.
Mangelsdorf, Martha E. "Why it Pays to be an Optimist." MIT Sloan Management Review 52.2 (2011): 12-3. ProQuest. Web. 27 Apr. 2013.
Silvia, Paul J., et al. "Self-Focused Attention, Performance Expectancies, and the Intensity of Effort: Do People Try Harder for Harder Goals?" Motivation and Emotion 34.4 (2010): 363-70. ProQuest. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.
"Soldiers to be Tested for Prescription Drug Abuse." M2 Presswire Feb 29 2012. ProQuest. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.
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