Introduction & Overview of The Verge

This Study Guide consists of approximately 60 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Verge.
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The Verge Summary & Study Guide Description

The Verge Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading and a Free Quiz on The Verge by Susan Glaspell.

The Verge was one of Susan Glaspell's first fulllength plays and is considered by many to be the most complex of her career. The play grew out of Glaspell's recognition of the way in which Victorian society left some women feeling trapped in roles for which they were unsuited. Because of the play's non-realistic speech patterns and expressionistic elements, it was dismissed by most critics as being muddled and confusing. It has recently been "rediscovered" by feminist theorists, however, who see the work as an important contribution to theater history. At the time of the play's first production in 1921, women were still expected to stay at home and be dutiful wives and mothers. This mindset was meeting with increased resistance. Many women began to voice dissatisfaction with their lack of opportunities and tried to change the situation. Thus, the feminist movement began to take hold. Other women rebelled by retreating into despondency, depression and, sometimes, madness. The Verge also re.ects the fascination with Freudian theory that was sweeping the United States at the time. Freud had delivered his first U.S. lectures in 1909, and his theories of psychoanalysis and dream interpretation were widely discussed in many popular publications of the day.

The Verge is a somewhat dif.cult play to comprehend upon first reading. Characters sometimes speak in sentence fragments and have strange syntactical patterns that are closer to poetry than to everyday speech. The play also employs a heavy dose of symbolism to deliver its message. If one pays careful attention to the visual and poetic elements contained within the text, however, the work reveals a fascinating portrait of a woman trapped in a situation that slowly pushes her to madness.

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This section contains 284 words
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Drama for Students
The Verge from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.