Carolyn's Reviews > Wit

Wit by Margaret Edson
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Jul 01, 2009

it was amazing
Read in December, 2005

** spoiler alert ** Excerpt from a reflection for "Gender, Bodies, and the Medical Establishment":

"I love how deliciously uncomfortable the end of W;t makes the reader as we realize just how ironic it is, just how funny it is that Jason Posner should attempt to play God by saving Vivian’s life, despite the fact that she does not want saving, and once he realizes his error, he must then call upon God. The Code Blue team is aggressively attempting to resuscitate Vivian after she has died, which in all other cases would be a very painful thing to witness (I’ve seen it when working in a hospice, and it’s not as clockwork-like as television minidramas would have the viewer expect; the play has it down when it is portrayed as frenzied), but we as viewers are still moved to laugh at the irony—the fact that despite her clear wish for a DNR, Vivian must be subjected to this humiliation.

In many ways, the play seems to be the battle and play between the two great minds of Vivian and Jason, these geniuses who are cold and methodical and driven, who try with all their might to leave legacies, only to find that it is indeed a comma, a breath, one short pause, between life and death. Nobody can hope to escape it.

It certainly made me uncomfortable to see Vivian’s progression from stern and cold (but very lucid and in control of her mental faculties) to frightened and vocal about her pain and imminent death (much more human, but portrayed as child-like and coming at the expense of her brain function). I know that in the end, this had as much to do with the amount of morphine they were pumping into her as the deterioration of her body, but this shift, ironic as it may be, simply seemed cruel to me."
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