Margaret Edson

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Wit: Scene 9 Summary & Analysis

Vivian sits in her wheelchair and recites a Donne poem about death. She then tells the audiences how sick she truly is and discusses the treatment she has undergone. She has “broken the record” and “become something of a celebrity” for undergoing this aggressive new treatment, and Kelekian and Jason are pleased and excited to publish an article about her. Vivian then corrects herself—the article won’t be about her, it will be about her ovaries and her cancer. She is now just a “specimen.” She says her next line is supposed to be about how relieved she is to return to her room after the tests, but actually returning to her room is “just the next thing that happens.”
Vivian still feels a sense of accomplishment in distinguishing herself academically, but she is also accepting the reality of the situation: she is not the celebrity, but rather her cancer and its treatment are. She has been dehumanized by this ordeal, and no longer finds enough fulfillment or satisfaction in purely intellectual accomplishments. In her suffering and loneliness she finds herself longing for more.
Kindness and Mortality Theme Icon
Rationality and Intellect vs. Emotion and Human Connection Theme Icon
Empathy vs. Professional Detachment Theme Icon