The 7 Stages of Grieving

The 7 Stages of Grieving

by

Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman

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The Woman’s Grandmother/Nana Character Analysis

The Woman’s grandmother, whom she calls Nana, is deceased at the start of the play. As the Woman tells the story of her family’s coming together after Nana’s funeral to collectively mourn, she paints a portrait of the ways in which Aboriginal families and communities care for one another and comfort each other in times of great sorrow. The Woman’s grandmother is an important figure not just in her own life, but also in all her family members’ lives and the lives of many in their larger community, as is clear when four hundred people show up to Nana’s funeral. Nana’s death is an important story for the Woman to share, because with every elder who dies within the Woman’s community, a piece of Aboriginal history, heritage, and tradition dies along with them. This continual loss reverberates throughout the play as the Woman grapples with how much has been taken from her people through the ravages of colonialism—and with how there is still so much more to be lost.

The Woman’s Grandmother/Nana Quotes in The 7 Stages of Grieving

The The 7 Stages of Grieving quotes below are all either spoken by The Woman’s Grandmother/Nana or refer to The Woman’s Grandmother/Nana. 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:
Colonialism and Oppression Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bloomsbury edition of The 7 Stages of Grieving published in 2015.
Scene 4: Nana’s Story Quotes

I miss my grandmother. She took so many stories with her to the grave. Stories of her life, our traditions, our heritage from her now gone. I resent that.

Related Characters: The Woman (speaker), The Woman’s Grandmother/Nana
Page Number: 280
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene 5: Photograph Story Quotes

But this suitcase, which resides under the old stereo tightly fastened, lies flat on the floor comfortably out of reach. Safe from inquisitive hands or an accidental glance. In the suitcase lies the photos of those who are dead, the nameless ones. With an unspoken gesture we remove the photo of my nana from her commanding position on the wall and quietly slip her beneath the walnut finish. And without a sound push her into the shadow.

Related Characters: The Woman (speaker), The Woman’s Grandmother/Nana
Related Symbols: The Suitcase
Page Number: 281
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene 12: Aunty Grace Quotes

I never saw her cry the whole time she was with us.

Dad said she was stuck-up and wasn’t really family. She married this Englishman after World War II. There was a photo of her on a ship waving with this white fella, his arm around her. For some reason she didn’t stay, which in my family is strange.

Page Number: 286
Explanation and Analysis:

I drive Aunty Grace out to the cemetery on our way to the airport. She doesn't have much luggage, there is plenty of room but no one from the family comes to see her off. I wait in the car while she goes out to the freshly turned soil of Nana’s grave. She is there for such a long time, I think we are going to be late. Finally she returns to the car, opens the back door and removes a suitcase. She opens it and proceeds to throw the contents all over the ground, everything. […] Crying, at last, crying.

Related Characters: The Woman (speaker), Aunty Grace, The Woman’s Grandmother/Nana
Related Symbols: The Suitcase
Page Number: 286-287
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The 7 Stages of Grieving LitChart as a printable PDF.
The 7 Stages of Grieving PDF

The Woman’s Grandmother/Nana Character Timeline in The 7 Stages of Grieving

The timeline below shows where the character The Woman’s Grandmother/Nana appears in The 7 Stages of Grieving. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene 4: Nana’s Story
Memory and Family Trauma Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Numbness  Theme Icon
Aboriginal Identity, Pride, and Resilience Theme Icon
...can be heard. The woman describes returning home for the funeral of her God-fearing sixty-two-year-old grandmother, to which she and all her cousins wore bright floral dresses—“the only thing black at... (full context)
Colonialism and Oppression Theme Icon
Memory and Family Trauma Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Numbness  Theme Icon
Aboriginal Identity, Pride, and Resilience Theme Icon
...of their matriarch—a woman who feared hospitals, policemen, and the government. The Woman remembers her grandmother as someone who loved storytelling and singing—especially country music like the song “Delta Dawn.” Four... (full context)
Colonialism and Oppression Theme Icon
Memory and Family Trauma Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Numbness  Theme Icon
Aboriginal Identity, Pride, and Resilience Theme Icon
The Woman says she misses her grandmother intensely, and she resents that stories of her grandmother’s life, traditions, and heritage have now... (full context)
Scene 5: Photograph Story
Memory and Family Trauma Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Numbness  Theme Icon
Aboriginal Identity, Pride, and Resilience Theme Icon
...It sits safely out of reach beneath the stereo. On the day of the Woman’s grandmother’s death, she and her parents remove their pictures of her from the wall and place... (full context)
Scene 12: Aunty Grace
Memory and Family Trauma Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Numbness  Theme Icon
...looks out at the audience. She describes the return of her Aunty Grace for her grandmother’s funeral. The Woman only ever knew Aunty Grace through the pictures of her in the... (full context)
Colonialism and Oppression Theme Icon
Memory and Family Trauma Theme Icon
Aboriginal Identity, Pride, and Resilience Theme Icon
...part of the family—she moved away and became haughty after marrying an Englishman. The Woman’s grandmother often talked resentfully about Aunty Grace’s departure. (full context)
Colonialism and Oppression Theme Icon
Memory and Family Trauma Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Numbness  Theme Icon
...stops at the cemetery so that Aunty Grace can look at the fresh soil of Nana’s grave. Aunty Grace stands by the grave for a long while, then returns to the... (full context)