In the play And When We Awoke There Was Light and Light by Laura Jacqmin, she scrutinizes the ethical obstacles revolving around service in America. The main character Katie, battling with this widespread ethical issue just like all other Americans when making a decision that confronts one’s morals. Katie struggles with being an upstanding scholar, conflicting messages about service, not being fully committed to helping David, her pen pal from Uganda and then recognizing in the end that David is more valuable than Harvard.
Katie’s parents, teacher and essentially herself all make her inquire what service is really about by presenting her with contradictory messages. Throughout the play an essence of being a do-gooder and a high-achieving student is placed upon Katie. In the opening of the play Katie tells David that she does volunteer to prove that she is "a well-rounded, well-adjusted person of the world"(Act 1 pg.3). Katie’s parents also go on to say that it is certainly pleasing that she wants to help David out, but perhaps she could assist someone else out by volunteering at a soup kitchen. To the parents, it came across as if they were only placing a high importance on the actual term ‘volunteer’ appearing on Katie’s resume rather than the people she was essentially serving in this volunteer work.
Katie’s teacher, Mr. Dubey, puts a prominent emphasis on the students at Katie’s school about how essential school is. Since Katie starts to feel bad for using David to get into Harvard, his standpoint toward the topic alters and he tells that she should be self-serving and not really care what people say and to not "ruin the rest of your life just because you feel a little guilty right now"(Act 2 pg.74). All of these inconsistent messages on what Katie should be like, how she should treat others and to be selfish, all impact her struggle to be fully devoted to Harvard, or fully committed to David.
Because such a prominence of schooling is placed on Katie by her parents and her teacher, she feels the need to write a phenomenal essay. She believes the only way she can convince Harvard to admit her into their school is by using David in her essay. She says that you are either suitable enough or you’re not, there is no in between and to her friend Julian she says, “you don’t need the same kind of hook that I do”(Act 1 pg.26). She explains that using David in her essay isn’t using him in a ruthless way. But, that simply David was helping her get into a great school, even though he didn’t exactly know. When Katie finally concludes her essay she justifies that this experience has given her a new family member.
Katie goes on to call David her brother in saying that she could never do too much for family. However, during this part of the play, Katie isn’t presently talking to David since discovering that he had been killing people. At this point...