Throughout the play Wit, Vivian’s character changes in a very short period of time. From the time that she enters the hospital to her death she is constantly fighting against the disease that has infected her. I believe that this fight for her life allows her to remember back to her childhood and take a closer look at things that have made her the person that she is today. She wants to understand the words that the doctors are saying to her so she thinks back to a similar memory. Her first memory about her 5th birthday makes her remember her father and how he always wanted her to read. She picks The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies to read first. She begins to read and cannot pronounce a word (soporific). Her father allows her to sound it out and eventually defines the word for her. At this moment she realized that she was amazed by words and she wanted to learn more.
I believe that this is important because she makes this her whole life. Her ability to speak and write is the quality that she defines herself by. When she is diagnosed with cancer, those abilities are taken away from her.
Throughout The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies, the main theme is that parents are to provide for their children. The Flopsy Bunnies do not adequately provide enough food for their six children so the children sneak into Mr. McGregor’s trash in order to feed themselves. They almost get caught by him but a field mouse is able to help save them. I believe that the moral that Vivian learned, maybe not when she was five, but later on was that her father provided for her and she had a good childhood.
I also believe that Vivian attempts to devote this same theme in her work as a teacher. She learned it from her teacher Dr. Ashford and she tried to do the same for her own students. She didn’t always seem as though she was helping them as is evident with the memory of her classroom talking about the John Donne sonnet. She seems very difficult to learn from but I believe that she feels that to understand something you must be tough and not let someone off easily. This is the same practice that her father and Dr. Ashford used with her.
At the end of the play there is another children’s book that is introduced which plays an important role in the play. Vivian’s only visitor, Dr. Ashford comes to see her. Vivian is so weak that she does not want to talk about Donne, so Dr. Ashford reads her The Runaway Bunny. The imagery in this story plays an important role in the way that Vivian’s life ends. Throughout the story the young bunny says that he is going to run away and states how he will do it. The mother bunny always has a comeback as to how she will find the young bunny and bring him back. A major influencing factor of how the book is interpreted comes from the pictures. By interpreting the pictures it is possible to come to the conclusion that the mother bunny is actually the spirit of God and the young bunny is God’s child on Earth. No matter where the young bunny goes or what he turns into, God will always find him. Finally the young bunny just decides that he will stay with his mother.
I believe that the imagery in this story was in a way telling Vivian that it was alright to die. That she did not have anything that she needed to hold onto because no matter what happened, God would always find her and bring her home. Following the story, Dr. Ashford leans over and tells Vivian “It’s time to go. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”. I believe that Dr. Ashford was telling Vivian that it was her time to go and that God would bring her home to him. This final image would have been a peaceful image and would have alleviated Vivian’s fears of death.