Loss In Marsha Norman's Night, Mother

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The American Sense of Loss in Marsha Norman’s play “ “ ‘night, Mother””

The American sense of loss is very much present in Marsha Norman’s “ ‘night, Mother”. The very first few lines of the play indicate that Jessie, the protagonist of the play is planning on committing suicide. The loss of free will –the major existential trauma- renders Jessie to suffer psychologically throughout her previous life. Therefore Jessie, meticulously orchestrates her own suicide as a final act of total control--something she had never possessed in her life. There is no desperation in her actions, only a controlled, deliberate, execution of a well thought-out plan to free herself from a meaningless existence. Moreover, the image of loss is heightened by the mother-daughter relationship in “night, Mother” as Thelma fights to preserve Jessie’s life and Jessie struggles to control her own fate. Ironically, this struggle results in a connection between mother and daughter that was never possible until this moment. The helplessness Thelma feels in attempting to prevent Jessie’s suicide and the revelation of the deep psychological loss felt by Jessie are the driving forces of this play.
Consequently, Jessie decides to exercise complete control of the last few hours of her life as she has made a “choice” to end it. Ironically as Jessie assumes
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For instance, Laura was abandoned by her father and left with only “a blown-up photograph of the father” (Menagerie 22), an old phonograph and records belonging to her father, and a postcard that states, “Hello-goodbye!” (23). Jessie’s father dies leaving her with animals made from pipe cleaners and memories of a “Big old faded blue man in the chair” (“ ‘night, Mother”
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