Susan Glaspell

The Verge

Susan Keating Glaspell (1876 –1948) was a novelist, playwright, journalist and actress. ‘The Verge’ reflects Glaspell's observation of the way in which Victorian society left some women feeling trapped in roles for which they were unsuited. The narrative is about Claire, a woman who lives her life on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Trying to create a new type of plant, Claire spends most of her time in the greenhouse. One winter, with a house full of guests, she diverts the heat to the greenhouse. She tries to leave her family and friends outside, in the cold, and their attempts to bring her back to the real world drive her over the edge into utter insanity. The language of ‘The Verge’ is unusual; the characters sometimes speak in poetic fragments rather than everyday speech. What’s more, symbolism features heavily in the play. Of course it all ends in death and destruction, with Claire humming "Nearer My God, to Thee” with a smoking gun in her hand and a dead man at her feet.
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