Water by the Spoonful Themes & Motifs

Quiara Alegría Hudes
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How the Past Haunts the Present

This is arguably the play’s primary / central theme: not only is it the first one introduced (through Elliot’s reference, in the very first scene, to an Arabic phrase that remains stuck in his head years after leaving duty in Iraq), but is the one from which all the other play’s thematic considerations emerge.

All the principal characters, in one way or another, are haunted and/or troubled by painful past experiences. The so-called “chatroom” characters who are mostly seen / heard from in the addictions support chatroom run by Odessa (Orangutan, Chutes and Ladders, Fountainhead), face the challenge of moving beyond the causes, actions, and consequences associated with their past addiction to crack cocaine. Meanwhile, Odessa and Elliot are both haunted, in different ways and to different degrees, by a particular set of addiction-triggered circumstances: specifically, the preventable death...

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This section contains 1,926 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Water by the Spoonful Study Guide
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