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Time is an ever moving phenomenon that will continue to move without regard for people’s readiness. The same idea happens in life in which things happen entirely out of any individual’s control. Unfortunately, the past deals with this concept in that nobody can go back in time to change any situation that they may not be happy with. The past is what keeps an individual awake at night as they struggle to reconcile their troubles. Uncertainty is defined as not being able to be accurately known or predicted; not able to be depended on. This provides that when an individual is faced with uncertainty, they may not be entirely sure of themselves or a situation. In Wit, a modern play written by Margaret Edson, the protagonist Vivian Bearing is a renowned professor of poetry who deals with cancer and hospital care while reassessing her life through flashbacks and monologues. Vivian struggles with facing her own lonely past and has a unique way of realizing her insensitivities. Vivian was building a facade from her emotions throughout her whole life but it is evident to see that nobody can hide from their past as it is bound to catch up to you one way or another. Through the technical use of flashbacks,  Margaret Edson develops the idea that in order to reconcile with an uncertain past, an individual may choose to manipulate their present life when faced with adversity, even though the past can be impossible to outrun. Initially, Vivian Bearing is shown to have devoted her entire life to researching, understanding and teaching the works of John Donne and other seventeenth century poets. Due to her devotion to John Donne’s work and the level of seriousness she demands from herself and her students, her course is known to be one of the top three hardest courses on campus. Vivian prides herself on her reputation, even though she has little empathy for anyone or anything. Her whole life she has been trained to be cold hearted and out of touch with reality. Vivian has relied on wit to sustain her insanity and keep herself company even throughout her cancer treatments. The initial alienating device of Vivian Bearing addressing the audience directly destroys the illusions of empathy. She said, “It is not my intention to give away the plot, but I think I die at the end.” This shows that even with her own concept of death, she still has no sympathy for even the readers, forcing readers to become detached and engaged objectively for the rest of the story. Due to her devotion to her work, she has not had any time to start a family or even have any friends. She chooses not to contact any family members when the doctor asked if he needed to explain the information about Vivian’s diagnosis to anyone as she says, “That won’t be necessary.” That shows that she is still oblivious to emotions through being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and chooses not to tell anyone at all which would be perceived as selfish to anyone that would want to find closure. Vivian will eventually stop seeing anything positive in her life as she is being faced with adversity head on with no control. However, even though Vivian devoted her life to become a renown scholar, she ends up with very little to show for it. While in the hospital no one visits her until the very end when professor E.M Ashford comes in and offers to recite something of Donne, which Vivian rejects and so Ashford reads to her The Runaway Bunny By Margaret Wise Brown. Ashford too has discovered that grandchildren are as important as intellectual scholarship. Vivian finally comes to realise that there are more important things in life than mere professional standards. Vivian says, “So. The young / doctor, like the senior scholar, prefers research to humanity. At the same time the senior scholar, in her pathetic state as a simpering victim, wishes the young doctor would take more interest in personal contact.” Vivian also comes to see that the study of literature, which she so prized for itself, has little meaning when devoid of human connections. Rather than administering the “full dose” of Donne to her students, she might have taken time to be more nurturing and to attend to them as real human beings and not vessels to have no purpose other than to be filled with knowledge. Susies care, compassion and humanity is much more important to Vivian and outweighs all of the doctors efforts “save” Vivian’s life as they just treat her like a medical experiment and not a real person. At the first glimpse of someone showing compassion towards her, she realizes that ignoring reality her whole life and retelling certain areas of her past in a witty way is the way that Vivian attempts to reconcile her past in her present situation which is alone in a hospital bed. Consequently for Vivian, the reality of her past in the way she’s treated people and failing to enjoy herself with friends can’t leave her alone as it continues to make her go crazy as she tries to avoid it in her hospital bed. The fact that the past continues to eat at Vivian’s brain is shown through the dramatic techniques of flashbacks and symbolism through the debilitator. Eventually, Vivian decides to tell Susie that she would rather let her heart stop beating than to be revived as she feels she would be better off dead than alive and suffering dealing with more harsh flashbacks. She needs some glimmer of positivity or light like she had in her past when doing what she loved as a professor as she is faced with an incredible amount of adversity. Unfortunately, there was no glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Vivian recreates her reality to the point where she starts losing her mind thinking about her memories as a defense mechanism. She normally involves herself with complex mental challenges as a way to hide from the simplicity of life and truth. In one flashback she says, “They’re sleeping! They’re sleeping! Like you said, because of soporific!” Through hardships in life, Vivian relies on memory to bring feelings of comfort in love. As Vivian’s journey progresses and as her body experiences more and more pain, though she is still afraid, she becomes less and less willing to wrap herself in the complex impossible mazes of the mind which develops the theme of complexity vs. simplicity. Her view on her past and life has developed so much as to who she is now, that there is no way to ever be able to come to terms with fixing her past as she doesn’t have any time left to do so on her deathbed. In Wit, a modern play by Margaret Edson, a rigorous lecturer attempts to cope with the struggles that afflict her past when faced with adversity and loses sense of reality in doing so, but this proves to be unavailing as it is shown that reality catches up to her at some point. The peace and quiet that she experiences 24/7 in her hospital room turns out to be place for her problems of the past to follow her and overwhelm her with deep regret. As much as Vivian would like to turn back the clocks of reality and fix her past, some things just simply can’t be fixed. It is shown through Vivian’s character that building a facade and struggling to come to terms with reality does nothing to reconcile those problems, and in fact can magnify them and create new issues to solve. Facing problems head on is never an easy task, but is a necessary one that will promise a better present and future life.

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