• ISSN: 2382-6282 (Print); 2972-3108 (Online)
    • Abbreviated Title: Int. J. Lang. Lit. Linguist.
    • Frequency: Bimonthly
    • DOI: 10.18178/IJLLL
    • Editor-in-Chief: Dr. Jason Miin-Hwa Lim
    • Managing Editor:  Jennifer X. Zeng
    • Indexed by:   CNKI, Google Scholar, Crossref,
    • E-mail: ijlll_Editor@126.com
IJLLL 2023 Vol.9(5): 326-331
DOI: 10.18178/IJLLL.2023.9.5.426

Tragic Deviation from the Comic Text: Dual Narrative Dynamics in Ah, Wilderness!

Xiaorui Guo

Abstract—Eugene O’Neill’s only comedy Ah, Wilderness! is home to plot simplicity and witty remarks. If social background beyond the text is considered, the implicit repression exerted by the dominant middle-class discourse and the resulting female predicament continue throughout the play. Richard gave up his zeal for changing the world, swallowed up by utilitarianism and instrumental rationality. Lily struggled between the call of independent consciousness and the drag of her faint expectation of family, yet finally chose to be docile and compromised with the family. Another tragic layer deviates from the comic nostalgic motif; O’Neill’s feminist concern deviates from the seemingly male-centered surface text, hence the narrative progression of the play text. Beyond the text, the stage set of the play visualizes the process of middle-class utilitarianism devouring individuals, and the directors’ tendency in the adaptations and the actors’ interpretation of their roles prove the hidden sense of repression existent. When the evidence from the stage is applied to the text interpretation, extending covert progression to drama analysis bursts with new vitality.

Index Terms—Eugene O’Neill, Ah, Wilderness! covert progression

Xiaorui Guo is with Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province 210097 China. E-mail: guoxiaorui2022@gmail.com


Cite: Xiaorui Guo, "Tragic Deviation from the Comic Text: Dual Narrative Dynamics in Ah, Wilderness!," International Journal of Languages, Literature and Linguistics vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 326-331, 2023.

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