Night Mother

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Theplay NightMotherreveals the value of women in society. Women are usually perceived asindividuals that do not understand how society functions. Jessietells her mother that she wants to commit suicide, but her mother,Thelma, fails to dissuade her from committing the deed(Norman 4).Norman, the writer of the play, explains the discussion betweenJessie and her mother. Thelma pleads, cajoles, and exhorts herdaughter to discard her suicidal plans to no avail (Norman16).Jessie, however, feels cold-hearted and trapped in her mother`s housebecause her husband has left her and her son is a delinquent. Jessiefeels that her epilepsy and her mother`s inability to maintain herjob are the root causes of her problems (Norman27).She also feels that her society`s failure to understand the problemsof epileptic people contributes significantly to her problems. Hersociety renders epileptic people incapable of catering to theirproblems and has to be under the watch of the more “capable”members of society.

Jessiefeels that she is not in control of the life that she lives, but cantake charge of her life. The play`s outset shows Jessie gatheringpillows and towels to minimize her mess after shooting herself(Norman4).Her level of meticulousness shows how the need to be in controldominates her life. Her violent behavior, however, demonstrates howironic she is. The play focuses on Jessie’s decision to killherself, and, in a way, reveals the daily struggles that womenundergo. Thelma`s talk shows how she feels about children. She saysthat one may assume that her children belong to her, but young onesonly belong to a person on loan. Norman acquiesces to the fact thatmothers can look under the bed or wash sheets if such an actiondetermines the fate of their children.

Thelma`sinability to understand Jessie`s seriousness also reveals theweakness of women. Although Jessie is Thelma`s daughter, Thelma doesnot find a way of dissuading her from killing herself. Thelma tellsJessie where she will find the old gun that she uses to end her life(Norman17).In spite of her mother`s pleas not to end her life, Jessie goes aheadto demise ad even goes to the extent of arranging charismas gifts forher family. Despite her unusual request, Thelma does not notice thatJessie`s request is unusual. Jessie begs her mother to makechocolate, but no one in her house likes it. Jessie is also divorced,in her mid-thirties, epileptic and unattractive. All these factorsdo not hint Thelma that her daughter has no desire to keep living/

Inaddition to the above, Jessie keeps talking about her mother’sfamily and friends. Jessie cannot stop talking about her life andthat of the people that surround her. She is in love with herestranged husband and smokes (Norman40).Additionally, she continues smoking despite her husband`s ultimatumto stop indulging in the behavior. In the same vein, her son turnsinto a drug addict and a thief. Consequently, Jessie loses hope inher life and starts contemplating suicide. Thelma tried to plead withJessie to stop thinking about death, but all her advances fall ondeaf ears.

Thelmaalso decides to dissuade her daughter from suicidal thoughts bytelling her he truth. Thelma explains to her daughter that sheexpected too much out of life. She says that Jessie wanted a typicalfamily, husband, and children (Norman39).However, upon her husband`s demise, Jessie became hopeless and beganthinking about death. Also, her son turned into a drug addict and athief. All these happenstances were different from her view of lifethus, Thelma gave up and decided to kill herself. Also, Thelma wantedto keep Jessie close to her after Dawson got married and startedliving with his wife. Thelma`s desperate desire to be with her childpush Jessie to commit suicide since she felt that her life did nothave any meaning. All these interactions revealed that Jessie`smother loved her daughter however, Jessie felt that her mother`slove was not sufficient motivation to help her to develop the desireto keep living.

Inthe end, Jessie felt that her life was meaningless. Thelma keptshowing her daughter affection, but all her acts were not sufficientmotivation to help Jesse to keep living. Thus, Jessie decided thatthe best option was to end her life (Norman56).Thelma`s lover for Jesse is revealed after she clung on her daughter,preventing her from ending her life. Nonetheless, Jessie pushed hermother aside and left the room in a hurry. She locked her room anddecided to shoot herself/

Ina recap of the above discussion, Jessie’s civilization rendersepileptic individuals unable to cater to their issues. It believesthat such people should be under the care of the more “capable”members of society. NightMothershows the worth of women to society. Women are, more often than not,perceived as persons that do not appreciate how society functions.Jessie tells her mother that she wants to die, but her mother(Thelma) fails to dissuade her. Norman, the writer of the play,discusses the discussion between Jessie and her mother. Thelmabeseeches, cajoles, and exhorts her daughter to abandon her suicidalplans to no avail. Jessie believes that her epilepsy and her mother’sincapability to maintain her job are the root causes of her problems.She also supposes that her society’s incapacity to understand theissues of the epileptic people contributes considerably to herproblems, as discussed above.


Norman,M. (1983). `Night,mother(1st ed.). New York: Hill and Wang.