The Night Mother by Marsha Norman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a mother, Jessie, and her daughter, Thelma, discussing the pros and cons of suicide The story follows Thelma's attempt to talk her mother into offering her permission and emotional support to take her own life. The play explores the nature of death, the power of love, and the moral complexity of a difficult decision. By providing an unbiased point of view for both characters, the audience is forced to confront their own opinions and feelings on the matter.
One of the most interesting aspects of the play is the way it encourages the audience to explore their personal viewpoint on the issue of suicide. Below are five essay topics that could be used to explore these ideas in more detail:
1. How does Jessie's relationship with her daughter affect her decision to grant her permission to commit suicide in the end?
2. Does Thelma’s plan to commit suicide reflect her own inner turmoil or is she trying to please others?
3. In what ways does society's views on suicide shape the characters' choices?
4. What is the message the playwright is conveying to the audience in regards to the issue of suicide?
5. Does the play offer any insight into the importance of family support when faced with such a difficult decision?