Wit Literary Analysis

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In the play Wit by Margaret Edson, the two characters Suzie Monahan and Jason Posner are both extremely interesting characters that contribute to the philosophy Vivian struggles with as a cancer patient. In the play, Jason is a clinical fellow at the Department of Medical Oncology, while Suzie is the primary nurse for Vivian. Throughout this play, these two characters symbolize the difference between technical and emotional knowledge, while showing the limitations of the medical industry. From interactions with these two and her former Professor Ashford, Vivian becomes aware of her psychological flaws and learns to change her mindset and accept the reality of death. To distinguish the difference of technical and emotional language, it is important…show more content…
After Vivian’s encounter with Jason before, Vivian realizes that she wishes for the same human contact from Jason that she denied her own students in the past. In one of her flashbacks she recalls a hostile encounter with one of her students when she yells, “You can come to this class prepared, or you can excuse yourself from this class, this department, and this university. Do not think for a moment that I will tolerate anything in between … I was teaching him a lesson (Edson 59-60).” Here, Vivian has shown that in the past she was notorious for an uncompromising character. Instead of trying to productively encourage the student to pay attention, she allowed her ego to take over her and lash out on the student. By showing this flashback she is showing irony in the fact that she desires human kindness and is possibly suggesting she is undeserving of it. However, in another layer of irony, Vivian received compassion from Suzie at her lowest point of integrity. Even though Vivian may not deserve love and kindness, Suzie had found the love in her heart to take care of Vivian. As a result, Vivian begins to understand that she must accept simplicity when saying, “Now is a time for simplicity. Now is a time for, dare I say it, kindness … I’m scared. Oh, God. I want … I want … No. I want to hide. I just want to curl up in a…show more content…
Ashford, who taught Vivian of Donne several years earlier. Although Vivian has also studied Donne for numerous years herself, she cries in pain when Ashford asks her if she would like Donne recited to her (Edson 79). To me, it appears that Vivian has abandoned Donne’s word of life and death and wants to have a simple reason why she should leave this world. Although this is only conveyed in a painful moan to which Ashford reads Vivian a children’s book called The Runaway Bunny. The story went as Ashford recites, “Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away. So, he said to his mother, ‘I am running away.’ ‘If you run away,’ said his mother, ‘I will run after you. For you are my little bunny.’ The story continues with the bunny devising ways he will run away from his mother, but he stays because he cannot hide from his mother (Edson 79-80). Just like Ashford notes herself, I believe that this story is simply all allegory of the soul that cannot hide from God. Although Vivian bears knowledge from the tree of knowledge, she is possibly realizing that she must accept God’s love and can no longer hide behind wit. From a symbolic perspective, she is finally ready to go to heaven now that she will hopefully not hide from God. Professor Ashford demonstrates this critical moment when she comments about Vivian’s soul, “It’s time to go. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest (Edson 80).” Professor
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