Read an Excerpt
The questions, discussion topics, and suggested reading list that follow are intended to enhance your group’s enjoyment of Margaret Edson’s powerfully imagined Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Wit. We hope they will provide you with many interesting angles from which to approach this remarkable play, a work which beautifully illuminates the gifts-love, friendship, kindness-that make life truly worth living, through its probing and frequently poetic examination of one of humanity’s universal and defining experiences: death.
Vivian Bearing, a renowned professor of literature who has spent years studying and teaching the famously intricate Holy Sonnets of the seventeenth-century poet John Donne, is diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. Confident of her ability to stay in control of events, she brings to her illness the same approach-intensely rational and painstakingly methodical-that has guided her stellar academic career. But as her disease and its painful treatment inexorably progress, she begins to question the single-minded values that have always guided her and, in the process, learns lessons that are both challenging and redemptive. In Wit, we are confronted with timeless questions: How should we live our lives knowing that we will die? Are our relationships with others more important than material, professional, or intellectual achievement? What, if any, are the roles of science and art in reconciling us to our mortality? With an unforgettable combination of elegant phrasing and emotional power, Wit compels us to reassess our own lives, just as Vivian Bearing must do.