Night Mother Essay, Research Paper
Marsha Norman’s use of constructs, revelations, and the idea of health aids in controlling the intensity of ‘”Night mother.” Character constructs create for the audience characters’ standards. Revelations introduce to the audience the problems confronting the character. The character’s health defines how they react, how they feel. Together these combine to define the characters. The characters and confrontations bring about the intensity of “‘Night Mother.” Half way throughout the play, Jesse has forced mama to start telling the truth. The real identities of the characters are revealed from then on, as it is now the complete truth about these characters. Although Jesse has always told the truth in the play, up to this point mama had not been desperate enough to ask relevant questions. Little, therefore, was known about Ricky, Cecil, Dawson, Loretta, or Jesse’s father. Jesse and mama too are still underdeveloped. By the end of the play the audience has a good understanding of the characters, enough to see Jesse’s suicide as inevitable. Jesse’ father is unveiled in the second half of the play in which mama describes him. Despite the love Jesse and her father shared, he would not have been able to stop her, as he is shown as a passive person. mama and Jesse also talk at length about Cecil and Ricky for the first time. Jesse’s unbiased account of her family creates these two characters. Jesse’s and mama’s interaction and opinions on these characters develop them. Mama, who desire’s things to be ‘good’ is revealed to have manipulated Cecil and Jesse together. Jesse’s opinions, such as Ricky’s problems, show her not only as unbiased but also whiteout feelings. Loretta, Dawson, Cecil, Ricky and Jesse’s father have evolved from references, people outside the reality of the play, to become characters, flesh and blood people. the health of these characters defines how they react to the world and each other. Mama is an extreme feeler, she eats sweets for pleasure, is easily distressed and desperation comes easily too mama goes through several emotions in the play, brought on by Jesse’s talk and act of suicide. Jesse, however does not feel. she says, ” if there was something I really liked….. that might be enough to stay alive.” she seeks the world as “not fair” and nothing else. She feels no pleasure, only pain and this destroys all hope she might have had. As mama and Jesse interact it is made clear that Jesse has no hope and, therefore, no reason to live.
Revelations also gives insight into characters but their main purpose is to further the story, and to orchestrate the intensity. The play begins with the major revelation of Jesse’s plan to kill herself . However, the major revelations coincide with the character development in the second half of the play. The characters revelations, such as Jesse’s father had fits, leads to a confrontations of the past that either mama of Jesse had been avoiding expanding the audiences knowledge of the character. With the revelation of Jesse’s father had fits, Jesse forces mama to make another revelation- that Jesse had been having fits since she was a child and that she just had not been told. These confrontations are in essence, the intensity of the play as it throws the characters into conflicts.