The Shoe-Horn Sonata


John Misto

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The Shoe-Horn Sonata: Act Two, Scene Fourteen Summary & Analysis

Back in Sheila’s hotel room, the two friends talk about their travel plans. Bridie tells Sheila she found out the hotel is owned by Japanese people, so Sheila gathers extra amenities to pack away in her suitcase, which the two women work together to put on the floor. As Sheila repacks her things, Bridie gives her a piece of paper with her address and phone number, and Sheila says she wants to come visit for Christmas—a suggestion that makes Bridie very happy. At this point, Sheila hands Bridie the shoe-horn, saying, “I’m sorry I…kept it so long.” Moved, the two women finally fulfill their pact to dance in celebration of the end of the war. As they do so, the lights dim and a spotlight falls on the shoe-horn, the music continuing and sounding like “joy and triumph and survival.”
In this scene, the audience sees that Bridie and Sheila have finally released the tension from their relationship. No longer under the strain of resentment, they find themselves completely capable of existing in harmony once more. What’s more, now that Sheila has unburdened herself of her toxic secret, she no longer feels the need to avoid Bridie, which is why she decides to visit her for Christmas. In turn, it becomes clear how therapeutic it was for Sheila to speak openly about her trauma. At the same time, it’s worth noting that she will no doubt still struggle with the painful memory, but now she can—at the very least—spend time with her best friend without having to avoid talking about her past.
Friendship, Sacrifice, and Resentment Theme Icon
Trauma and Repression Theme Icon