Absurd Person Singular

by

Sir Alan Ayckbourn

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Eva Jackson Character Analysis

Eva Jackson is the volatile wife of Geoffrey Jackson. She’s shown to be mentally unstable in some never-explained way, and in Act One she claims that she has to take pills every few hours in order to stabilize her moods. In Act Two, for reasons never explained, she becomes actively suicidal, and tries to kill herself in various grotesque ways while the other characters ignore or misinterpret her actions. In Act Three, Eva seems relatively content and self-controlled, especially compared to the other characters, many of whom are deeply disillusioned with life. But, as with all the other characters in the play, it’s easy to imagine a fourth act in which Eva’s fortunes change once again: such is life for the 1970s British middle class, at least as Ayckbourn sees it.

Eva Jackson Quotes in Absurd Person Singular

The Absurd Person Singular quotes below are all either spoken by Eva Jackson or refer to Eva Jackson. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Middle Class Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of Absurd Person Singular published in 1994.
Act One Quotes

JANE: No, but it's special tonight, isn't it? I mean, with Mr. and Mrs. Brewster-Wright and Mr. and Mrs. Jackson. It's important.
SIDNEY: Don't forget Dick and Lottie Potter. They're coming, too.
JANE: Oh, well, I don't count Dick and Lottie. They're friends.

Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

SIDNEY: What?
EVA: Did I put that glass in there?
SIDNEY: Er—yes.
EVA: My God, I knew it, I'm going mad. I am finally going mad.

Related Characters: Sidney Hopcroft (speaker), Eva Jackson (speaker)
Related Symbols: Alcohol
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

GEOFFREY: Oh now, come off it. Nonsense. She chooses to live with me, she lives by my rules. I mean we've always made that perfectly clear. She lives her life to a certain extent; I live mine, do what I like within reason. It's the only way to do it...
SIDNEY: Good gracious.
RONALD: I wish you'd have a chat with Marion. Convince her.

Related Characters: Sidney Hopcroft (speaker), Ronald Brewster-Wright (speaker), Geoffrey Jackson (speaker), Marion Brewster-Wright, Eva Jackson
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Two Quotes

GEOFFREY: Yes, I know. You’re very anxious, aren't you, that I should go and work for the up and coming Mr. Hopcroft? So is up and coming Mr. Hopcroft.

Related Characters: Geoffrey Jackson (speaker), Sidney Hopcroft, Eva Jackson
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

GEOFFREY: Eva—I'm being very patient. Very patient indeed. But in a minute I really do believe I'm going to lose my temper. And we know what happens then, don't we? I will take a swing at you and then you will feel hard done by, and by way of reprisal, will systematically go round and smash everything in the flat. And come tomorrow breakfast time, there will be the familiar sight of the three of us, you, me and George, trying to eat our meals off our one surviving plate.

Related Characters: Geoffrey Jackson (speaker), Eva Jackson
Related Symbols: George the Dog
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

GEOFFREY: Now, I'm going to phone the doctor. I’ll just be two minutes, all right? Now, you sit there. Don't move, just sit there like a good girl.

Related Characters: Geoffrey Jackson (speaker), Eva Jackson
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:

JANE: Shall I tell you something—Sidney would get so angry if he heard me saying this—but I'd far sooner be down here on the floor, on my knees in the oven—than out there, talking. Isn't that terrible. But I’m never at ease, really, at parties. I don't enjoy drinking, you see.

Related Characters: Jane Hopcroft (speaker), Sidney Hopcroft, Eva Jackson
Related Symbols: Alcohol
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

SIDNEY: Now. I'll give you a little tip, if you like. You’ll never get a sink unblocked that way.

Related Characters: Sidney Hopcroft (speaker), Eva Jackson
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Three Quotes

EVA: Darling, I hate to remind you but ever since the ceiling of the Harrison building caved in and nearly killed the Manager, Sidney Hopcroft is about your only hope of surviving as an architect in this city.

Related Characters: Eva Jackson (speaker), Sidney Hopcroft, Geoffrey Jackson, Walter Harrison
Related Symbols: The Shopping Complex
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Absurd Person Singular LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Eva Jackson Character Timeline in Absurd Person Singular

The timeline below shows where the character Eva Jackson appears in Absurd Person Singular. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
Materialism Theme Icon
...underneath the shelves. Jane pokes her head into the kitchen and announces that the Jacksons, Eva and Geoffrey, have arrived. Jane and Sidney walk out of the kitchen. (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sidney returns to the kitchen, carrying Marion’s glass, which needs tonic water. Then, Eva walks in. She’s in her thirties and “makes no concessions in either manner or appearance.”... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Eva, speaking half to herself, goes on to explain that she and her husband, Geoffrey, have... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...he could “bury” his wife sometimes. Ronald points out that Geoffrey is lucky to have Eva, since she probably has a “jolly good idea” by now, but still lives with Geoffrey.... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Eva strolls into the kitchen and claims that the men have “abandoned” the ladies at the... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
As Eva leaves, Geoffrey brings up a business deal with Ronald—he wants to know if Walter Harrison’s... (full context)
Act Two
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
Act Two takes place “This Christmas” in the kitchen of Geoffrey and Eva’s fourth-floor flat (apartment). The kitchen seems untidy—the appliances “have seen better days” and the furniture... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
From offstage, Geoffrey plays with his dog, George. He walks into the kitchen and kisses Eva. Eva barely notices—she’s too busy writing. Geoffrey pours himself a drink and complains that Walter... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Geoffrey notices that Eva seems distracted. He points out that she’s still in her dressing gown. Then, he mentions... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...liquor in the flat. As he rummages through the drawers looking for alcohol, he reminds Eva that the people coming to the flat that night are really Eva’s friends, not his.... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Geoffrey picks up a dishcloth and carries it around with him. He turns to Eva and claims, “I’m being very patient,” and then says that he might lose his temper,... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Eva immediately turns to the window. She opens it and stands on the ledge. Geoffrey comes... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Geoffrey notices Eva’s note on the table and reads it. He asks Eva, “what do you mean, a... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Alone, Eva writes another note. Then, she turns to the oven and sticks her head inside. Jane... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...claims should take no more than ten minutes. Jane promises to keep an eye on Eva while Geoffrey is gone. Geoffrey removes the knives from the room, and then walks out.... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Alone with Eva, Jane tells her that George is getting big. She adds that Dick Potter is very... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sidney enters the room and sees Eva and Jane. He explains that the Brewster-Wrights have arrived. Seeing that Eva is trying to... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sidney steps out of the room, and Eva finds a piece of rope, climbs up on a chair, and begins to tie the... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...bare wires. Sidney offers to fix the light, and again writes on the back of Eva’s suicide note to explain what he’s doing. As he writes, Eva “scrawls another suicide note.”... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
While Jane, Sidney, and Ronald work, Eva writes yet another suicide note, and then finds a tin of paint stripper. She tries... (full context)
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
...shirt, and that he’s going to get his overcoat before he freezes. He angrily tells Eva, “That dog of yours is a liability,” and adds, “This is the last time I... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Faintly, Eva begins to sing, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” After each verse, a guest joins in—first... (full context)
Act Three
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Eva walks into the rom, wearing a winter coat. She complains that the house is very... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
Ronald offers Eva a drink, and she accepts after turning it down the first time. Just then, the... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...been sneaking drinks. Ronald goes off to look in other parts of the house. Alone, Eva tells Geoffrey that she hates working for him—he leaves in the middle of the day,... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
The bell rings, and Ronald explains that it’s Marion upstairs. Eva goes to attend to Marion. With Geoffrey, Ronald reminisces about his first wife, a woman... (full context)
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
Eva enters the room again. Ronald asks her how their dog is doing, and Eva tells... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
The doorbell rings, and Eva goes to see who it is. She comes back to the kitchen and tells Ronald... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
...walk into the kitchen and turn on the light, to find Ronald, Marion, Geoffrey, and Eva trying to hide in various spaces. There’s a pause, and then Marion says, “Boo.” (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
...put it on George’s collar. She apologizes for not bringing any presents for Geoffrey and Eva—she didn’t know they’d be there. (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
...excuse us if we’re not our usual cheery selves.” However, Marion says, “I’m perfectly cheery.” Eva mentions that Geoffrey is “dying” to do jobs for Sidney, and Sidney replies, “I’ll certainly... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...“sheepishly and reluctantly.” Ronald gets the first forfeit, an apple under the chin, followed by Eva, who gets an orange between the knees. The rest of the game proceeds more quickly,... (full context)