The paper "The Glory of Living by Rebecca Gilman" is a good example of an essay on literature. The Glory of Living talks about the problems that are faced by a woman, Lisa, who had a miserable childhood. This deviant childhood of hers makes her adult life full of disturbing behavioral elements. The child that is seen listening to her mother entertaining clients at the beginning of the play later grows into an adult who lures young girls so that her husband may rape them. The abuse that is suffered by the girls whom she lures is disturbing.
However, more disturbing is the fact that the protagonist of the play later murders them and throws away their bodies unceremoniously. The play questions the models of a family that is held up as the standard in society. Despite having a mother, Lisa is unable to have a normal childhood. The disintegration of the family is complete in the family of Lisa and Clint as the couple seeks to seduce young girls into a lurid kind of death. The sterility of this kind of an existence is repeatedly held up by the author as symbolic of the fact that such forms of life are unsustainable.
The playwright, Rebecca Gilman, makes it clear that such instances of sterility do not represent the modes of sterility that were characteristic of ancient civilizations where it was a phase that would be followed by regeneration. The two children that Clint and Lisa have only served to heighten the disturbing mood of the play as the presence of a pedophile in the family makes the situation of the children complicated.
They are moreover, placed not in the care The play’ s pessimism regarding the state of affairs that modern life presents is a very postmodernist one, where it has become impossible for human beings to peel away the layers of life to reveal its true essence. Here, people wander through life; performing functions that they are aware do not possess any meaning. In this sense, the play also addresses existential issues that the modern man faces and has to deal with. The importance of the existential problems that the play poses is demonstrated by the absolute lack of meaning that Lisa, the anti-heroine of the play, puts into her actions.
The main aspect of the play, however, remains the fact of the development of children. The life of children whereby they are at the complete mercy of their parent’ s actions is demonstrated skillfully by Gilman’ s play. The play, right from the scene where Lisa is charmed by Clint into a marriage that would lead her into a much more dissipated life than her mother, to the one where she discloses her dark secrets to the authorities, is a long series of events that displays the problems of a traumatic childhood.
This childhood of hers is affected by the fact that her mother was a prostitute. The fact that Clint is a person who comes with a person, who may or may not have been a client of his future mother-in-law, is one of the most disturbing aspects of the play (Gilman). The guilt that Lisa feels at the end of the play is something that stems from the fact that she has not matured emotionally.
The actions that she takes at various points in the play have no rational explanation. This fact is also the result of her dissociation from the real world where events follow a more or less rational course. The union of the grotesque and the real in the life of Lisa is another aspect of the play that is interesting and significant, dramatically. The grotesque events that are related in the play are a part of the life of Lisa. They are an everyday reality for her and this results in a disturbing atmosphere in the play.
The grotesque becomes the norm for Lisa when she arranges to pray for her husband. The grotesque becoming the norm points to the development of the person. The abnormal childhood that was led by Lisa, where she was deprived of attention on the part of her mother. The negative influences of her husband too, become a reason as to why Lisa becomes what she becomes. The play offers no reason as to why Clint is the way he is, portraying him as a result of a society where the family as a social unit has broken down, without an alternative social unit or structure developing.
The society as a whole, according to the play, has become a disturbing place where people of unstable mental setups reside, in an image of dystopia.