Analysis Of 'night, Mother'

972 words - 4 pages

Everyone has a different perception of life. Perhaps the norm says we always choose life; social mores and traditions in western culture suggest that there really are no choices in this regard. We all have our obstacles that we face during the time we spend on this earth and are also faced with live changing decisions. In ‘night, Mother, it’s indicated Jessie Cates had struggled throughout her life with depression, seizures, memory loss, abandonment, a forced marriage and a controlling mother. She knew no other world, enslaved to these conditions of her existence and base of familiarity. Her concept of time was blurred.
Jessie is portrayed as a light-skinned and somewhat physically unstable woman in her later thirties or early forties (Norman 1528). Jessie Cates struggles with family problems and has just now seen improvement in her epilepsy in the last year. Beginning to regain some parts of her memory she makes a decision that will change her life forever. ’night, Mother” is a play about a seemingly futile life…a life fraught with turmoil, tragedy and a failed existence. In this sense, death breaths life because it symbolizes the freeing of oneself from the bonds of this miserable and almost pointless subsistence. It probes the concept of death to understand the term “quality of life.” This is what ‘night, Mother is about.
The turning point or perhaps redemption in her life was when Jessie was given medication for her condition which relieved her of crippling seizures. “It’s not the fits! You said it yourself, the medication takes care of the fits” (Norman 1553). Dramatic results were achieved and Jessie did not have seizures anymore. “Jessie mentions how good she is feeling and how her awful side effects of her epilepsy have subsided” (Norman 1552). She began to remember her past, began to see more clearly and she questioned her existence. When Jessie began to see the positive results of medication for the first time, she felt like a different person…stronger, clear minded and healthy. The thought of this feeling of well-being going away was not worth losing. Yet, Jessie feared it was only a temporary state until the seizures came back and memory loss ensued. Jessie, throughout her life, was faced with an unfortunate situation of losing her memory of the past. Loss of memory creates detachment and is a very tragic thing since you have no grounding to stand on to build from a solid foundation. Jessie even said herself “The best part Is, my memory is back” (Norman 1552). We see that memory is almost as important as life itself. We ultimately live from our memories and we build upon those thoughts. Jessie says to her mother “Yes, Mama. Once I started remembering I could see what it all added up to”(Norman 1552). Psychologists have often said...

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