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February 1, 2012
EXAM QUESTION: how in dramatic text we have to pay attention to how space is
negotiated; like stage directions. (Splitting of genders, men move into the room,
significance of the kitchen, how the play makes use of the unity of space. Draws
attention to a theme: how genders negotiate a certain position.
- quote on page 1386 … rocking chair is empty, “There sat Mrs. Wright”.
Symbol? (Does a rocking chair have general cultural associations that are being relied upon by
- In various ways the rocking chair is associated with women and the comfort and the reason the
rocking chair is used, is to draw attention to the way Mrs. Wright’s gender has been undermined
(no kids, alone, disempowered).
- Reminder that she isn’t in the woman’s world: insanity & comfort.
- Empty rocking chair: she is not in the chair, she is absent. She is not the traditional view of
what a domestic woman would be, absent from society.
Metaphor? (is the rocking chair a vehicle within a comparative configuration? If so, what is the
tenor in the metaphor?)
- More specific, not as general
- Entrapment: rocking chair has a movement but doesn’t go anywhere … metaphor for the way
Mrs. Wright is trapped for they both are unable to move around their surroundings
- Instability of the rocking chair: rocks back and fourth like the instability of the marriage
- When you push a rocking chair it comes back to you, just like she gets back at her husband
with revenge by killing him
Metonymy? (is the rocking chair an aspect of an associative configuration? If so, what is the
rocking chair associated with?)
- Difference between metaphor and metonymy: metaphor is a comparison (this=that),
metonymy is a connection, association with ONE other thing, and where as a symbol is
associated with multiple things.
- Rocking chair is a sign of Mrs. Wright’s presence in the room, even when she’s not there; the
power Mrs. Wright has over the situation. Rocking chair is center stage, like even though Mrs.
Wright is not in the play, she is always present.
- Significance that Glaspell includes this figure of Mrs. Wright throughout the entire play
(rocking chair acts as a metonymy for Mrs. Wright): Even though the men seem to be in power
(police, attorney), they are not because the unpresent Mrs. Wright is the one in power.
- Properties of the rocking chair displaying Mrs. Wright’s ongoing presence shows how we feel
about Mrs. Wright
ROCKING CHAIR ON EXAM – will be asked to restate these 3 things
Plot: more of a play about empathy then it is about evidence
- Piecing together a quilt is like piecing together the pieces of the murder case (metaphor)
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