Water by the Spoonful

by

Quiara Alegría Hughes

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Water by the Spoonful: Scene Ten Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Yaz and Elliot stand together at the front of a church, conducting Mami Ginny’s funeral and commemorating her life: the public gardens she built, the community homes she refurbished, her twenty-two godchildren, the meals she always made available to any passer-by or stranger, and her one adopted son. Elliot is overcome by emotion and cannot finish speaking, so Yaz finishes for him, announcing that Elliot’s life is a testament to Mami Ginny’s care.
Mami Ginny’s presence in both her Puerto Rican community and in Elliot’s life paint an obvious and damning contrast to Odessa’s absence. This reiterates the way in which addiction can remove one from their own world. It also demonstrates why Elliot sees Mami Ginny as his true mom, and Odessa as merely an unfortunate blood relation.
Themes
Substance Addiction Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
As Yaz and Elliot are speaking, Odessa sits in her living room with a cup of water and a spoon, pouring the water onto the floor, spoonful by spoonful. At the same time, Orangutan stands on a Japanese train platform in Sapporo. Although the final boarding call comes over the loudspeaker, she remains frozen in place.
This passage alludes to the play’s title, Water by the Spoonful, and highlights the significance of Odessa’s actions in the throes of her addiction—for both herself and her family. Just as a spoonfuls of water kept her children alive while they were sick, Odessa’s spoonfuls of water poured upon the floor represent her own life being poured out, wasted on the floor until there is nothing left of it or her.
Themes
Substance Addiction Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon