'night, Mother by Marsha Norman: Introduction

'night, Mother, written in 1981, was Marsha Norman's fifth play, which was first staged in 1983. After its first show, it started getting praises and favorable criticism regarding its emotional honesty and realistic dialogues. The play is a mixture of traditional and modern elements. For its unique subject matter in the play, the play received the Pulitzer Prize in 1983.

Marsha Norman (21 Sep. 1947)

The main characters of the play are women who fight with the loneliness and emptiness within. Their failed American dreams of having wealth, security, family and love push them into the hell like life in the present. The lack of sentimentality in the women is the highlight of the play.

The hallmark of Norman's plays is dealing with personal frustration and unrealized pains. 'night, Mother is an excellent example of her talent for portraying every man’s and woman’s problems and failures. This is a play about people’s inability to communicate meaningfully. Suicide is merely the catalyst that forces Jessie and Thelma to talk with each other. People might consider that Norman suggests that suicide is an acceptable alternative to living a life if one considers intolerable, but Jessie’s view is not necessarily that of playwright’s. Here Norman does not take any authorial point of view at all, rather she simply allows two women of her play to speak frankly. The result is that night mother, is a tragedy only in a sense that its characters have missed a lifetime opportunity to understand each other. And they reach only a limited mutual insight in Jessie’s final hours. Unlike the characters in classical tragedy, the characters in this play neither realize the full extent.

Norman experiments what happens if the issue like death is presented directly on the stage. Mother and daughter openly talk in the serious issue of committing suicide. The play challenges the concept of traditional dramas in which protagonist leaves the note and commits suicide as off stage scene. The play also experiments of the feminist issues differently than in traditional plays. It is a new brand of feminism where women are exploited not by males, but by female themselves as opposed to the traditional dramas.

'night, Mother Study Center

Jessie's Last Night in 'night, Mother

Feminist Voice in 'night, Mother

Style of Norman in 'night, Mother

The Myth of Failed American Dream in 'night, Mother

Suffering of Postmodern Women in 'night, Mother

'night, Mother Study Center

Summary of 'night, Mother

Dramatic Technique in 'night, Mother

Biography of Marsha Norman