I’m Going! A Comedy in One Act Keshalla Mabry ENG 125 : Introduction to Literature Andrea Moak February 25, 2013 Literature can be expressive. It can be expressed in many different ways. Some use writing, some use pictures and print, or even dramatic and musical works of art. In this essay I will be using the Reader-Response Approach to analyze a piece of literature. I have chosen the short play I’m Going! A Comedy in One Act, by dramatist Tristan Bernard. I will include why the literary work captured my interest, how it made me feel, and how it has formed or change my connection with literature.
Firstly, let me describe the approach I will be taking towards this piece of literature. The Reader-Response approach I can’t just rely on feelings and opinions, I must read and make connections and respond on those connections. With that being said I will start with what captured my interest. While going through the first couple of lines in the dialogue I began to paint a picture of Henri and Jeanne. Henri came across to me as a stubborn old scrooge who wants things his way or no way.
He is very persistent about the races and his wife not attending. As they continue to converse he brings up all the reasons why she shouldn’t accompany him to the races. He complains about having to get a special carriage if she goes, and how he would have to buy her a ladies ticket. Basically, he is trying to think of anything possible to keep his wife at home. He would rather be alone at the races so he can “have a good time”, because according the dialogue he can only accomplish this goal if he goes alone.
The wife on the other hand tries to reason with him and let him know that she is willing to have a good time and she would rather be out with him than to be home alone and neglected. I for one can sympathize with Jeanne. She is a woman who has a regular Sunday routine and it goes on unchanged. I too have a Sunday routine that is consistent. She would like to get out of the house for once and attend the races with her husband, who feels as if she present it will spoil his goodtime. My fiance is the same way. Every other Friday he and his friends go out to the bar.
Sometimes the friends bring a date and other times they don’t. Well, one Friday I decided I wanted to go with. He (my fiance) kept making excuses for me not to go. He would say, “Oh love, the boys and I are just going to have some beers”. Or he would let me know ahead of time they were just going to hang out and watch ESPN. He made sure that I knew there was no room for me in his boys’ night out. So I can definitely feel Jeanne’s pain. A little farther in the conversation Henri tells Jeanne that he is off to the races, as he does she says that she will be alone and neglected.
He insists that the weather was too bad for her to attend and that she should stay home. After some debate about changing clothes and some sulking from both parties Jeanne eventually decided that she will allow her husband to leave and amuse himself with the races because she wants to go visit with a friend of hers. Once Henri hears this and at first all he can think about is the fact that he can go to the races alone. Once he sees that Jeanne is content and easy going about him leaving he begins to have second thoughts about going.
He sees that Jeanne is not acting mad or sad and he thinks that something must be fishy and he asks to see the telegram that she is sending to her friend. This seems to me as if Henri may have a trust issue with Jeanne. She shows him the telegram and he insists that this was a signal so that Jeanne could meet some other man. After reading this far, I came to the conclusion that Henri must have had some kind of infidelity and he was afraid that his wife was taking his decision to go to the races as an opportunity to get even so to speak.
This is just insecurities and guilt catching up with him. He doesn’t want her at the races, he doesn’t want her visiting friends, he wants her at home alone and neglected. This way he knows where she is and can pop up on her at any time. Eventually Jeanne decided to stay at home while Henri attended the races. After reading this short play I began to wonder if this type of trickery goes on in other relationships. It seems to me that Henri has some trust issues, possibly from something he has done in the past and he is scared that it may catch up to him.
But should the man or woman in the relationship be made to feel unhappy, sad, mad, alone, and neglected while the other party does as he or she pleases? Henri had no sympathy for his wife’s feelings or concerns. The only thing on his mind was him going to the races while she stayed at home alone and social deprived. Relationships take two people to give and take considerably and evenly, no one person should dictate the relationship or benefit more than the other. I have also run across other work of literature that shows the female as the subordinate to the husband or vice versa.
I’m beginning to enjoy this course now more than ever, I can see the connections and feel where the characters and authors are coming from so to speak. With all the literary terms and works or literature that I’ve covered so far, they have me expressing my thoughts, feelings, and interpretations already and we are just scratching the surface. Bibliography Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc Litlang Ltda. (2007). Types of literary criticism. Retrieved from http://www. textetc. com/criticism. html
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