Happy Days: A Play in Two Acts

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Once again, stripping theater to its barest essentials, Happy Days offers only two characters: Winnie, a woman of about fifty, and Willie, a man of about sixty. In the first act Winnie is buried up to her waist in a mound of earth, but still has the use of her arms and few earthly possessions—toothbrush, tube of toothpaste, small mirror, revolver, handkerchief, spectacles; in the second act she is embedded up to her neck and can move only her eyes. Section 4. Droits d'auteur. In , he visited Paris for the first time and fell in with a number of avant-garde writers and artists, including James Joyce.

In , he settled in Paris permanently. Beckett wrote in both English and French, though his best-known works are mostly in the latter language. A prolific writer of novels, short stories, and poetry, he is remembered principally for his works for the theater, which belong to the tradition of the Theater of the Absurd and are characterized by their minimalist approach, stripping drama to its barest elements. In , Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and commended for having "transformed the destitution of man into his exaltation.

At the age of seventy-six he said: "With diminished concentration, loss of memory, obscured intelligence Even though everything seems inexpressible, there remains the need to express. A child need to make a sand castle even though it makes no sense. Winnie's thoughts seem to be getting more and more fragmented and random because in the course of a few lines she fleets between thoughts about her husband, death, the earth, loss of memory, and more death.


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Finally, we get another big broad smile from Winnie when she realizes that death and loss of memory isn't going to get her just yet. But just as suddenly as her smile is on, it turns off surprise, surprise and another long pause starts. Winnie begins once again to talk about the "eternal cold" and "everlasting perishing cold" amid several pauses 2.

And then, Winnie squints and looks down her face. She looks at her nose, and her pouted lips.

From the SparkNotes Blog

She sticks her tongue out, remembering how much someone the person is referred to as "you," who could Winnie be thinking about? Her eyes travel north as she examines the state of her eyebrows. Her eyes then go left and then right. A puff of the cheeks later, her eyes travel left, and she puffs out her cheeks again.

Her eyes turn to the audience as she says, "that is all" 2. A pause later and her eyes go left as she realizes that the bag is still there, "the bag of course" 2. Then she looks forward and reminisces on the past but it seems like she is having trouble remembering. Her utterings are becoming more and more fractured, "that day… the lake…the reeds" 2. A big old long pause later Winnie's eyes close, but that's not allowed is it?

The bell rings loudly and she opens her eyes again. Winnie looks to the right and asks Willie about Brownie. That's a bit odd isn't it? Naming a revolver, Brownie? A pause later her eyes return to the center. Her eyes look to the right as she talks about the impotence of words and yet, ironically what she would do without them, "What would I do without them, when words fail" 2. She says she'll simply look ahead literally and then does so as she presses her lips together.


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What's with forcing the silence, Winnie? A long pause follows as she listens for sounds that she thinks she hears.

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Happy Days: A Play in Two Acts

She thinks about how sounds are a "boon" 2. And one pause later, she's smiling again but not for long apparently sounds can only do so much , off goes the smile, but a few pauses later it returns, getting bigger and bigger as she talks about how happy days include sounds, before it turns off once more.

From the SparkNotes Blog

In between several pauses, Winnie questions whether she's lost her marbles—it seems Winnie often hears "faint confused cries in her head" 2. Lucky for us and Winnie , she convinces herself that she's all right , "I have not lost my reason. Not yet" 2. Winnie then goes on to say how much the bell hurts her when it rings, and about how she's told Willie "to ignore the bell, pay no heed, just sleep and wake, sleep and wake, as you please" 2. How about following your own advice, eh, Winnie? Her smile gets bigger like before, but then turns off as she thinks about how now isn't the time to be thinking about life without of the bell.

Winnie then calls out to her husband. As you can probably imagine Willie doesn't respond. And so amid pauses, Winnie begins thinking about how life begins in the womb. More specifically she thinks on Mildred's memories in the womb who's Mildred, Winnie? Winnie then begins a rather long story interrupted by pauses about a girl named Milly possibly her daughter , who one night crept into a nursery room to undress a doll name Dolly, when she's suddenly surprised by a mouse. Apparently this story upsets Winnie because she tells herself, "Gently, Winnie" it's kind of like saying " easy does it ".

Two long pauses later, she screams out her husband's name. Not surprisingly, Willie doesn't respond. After a pause she calls for him twice more, getting louder again and again. She's finally had enough and says, "I sometimes find your attitude a little strange, Willie, all this time, it is not like you to be wantonly cruel" 2. Good for you, Winnie, tell him how you feel.

Winnie quickly becomes anxious about Willie's state and says, "I do hope nothing is amiss" 2. A pause is followed by a look to the right as she calls for her husband. Winnie wonders whether Willie is stuck in his hole and "crying out for help all this time and I do not hear him! She then says that she does hear cries but then reassures herself that it's nothing new and that's it's not Willie : "No, no, my head was always full of cries" 2. Winnie did say she used to hear sounds. A pause later Winnie finds something to be happy about: the fact that the sounds go away "as on a wind" 2.

She manages a smile but it quickly turns off. Winnie then begins talking about the time of day and how perhaps it's time for her to sing her song, but then she remembers that "one cannot sing… just like that, no" 1. Winnie then begins talking about the "sadness after song" 2. Some background: It seems Aristotle believed that all animals experienced sadness after coitus, a topic he wrote about in De Generatione Animalium.

Several pauses later Winnie attempts to recall "those exquisite lines" 2. She sighs as she says, "one loses one's classics" 2. Winnie soon changes the subject and, between several pauses, begins talking about Mr. Shower and Mr. Cooker remember them from Act I? Unfortunately, in an attempt to remember she closes her eyes and, after a long pause, the dreaded bell rings once again.

Winnie quickly opens her eyes up resumes talking about Mr. It seems like there's more to Mr.

Happy Days: A Play in Two Acts by Samuel Beckett, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Shower's or is it Mr. In fact, when they visited Winnie's mound they asked questions about what Winnie looks like underneath her mound, "Has she anything underneath? Winnie then asks for Willie's help and when she doesn't get a response from him begins talking about Mildred. She narrates the story about Mildred and the mouse oh Winnie, you poor thing, the rambling really has taken a turn for the worse hasn't it?

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Winnie is anxious for "the bell for sleep" 2. Maybe she's just sleep-deprived. Suddenly, Winnie's neck begins to hurt. She adjusts herself. In between several pauses Winnie digresses about how little she can do and say. She attempts to once again remember the "immortal lines" but fails in her endeavor 2. It seems like Winnie's thoughts are becoming more and more scattered and disrupted.

"Happy Days" Opens at the Mark Taper Forum

After several short pauses and one long pause, Winnie begins remembering a day of celebrations when she drank champagne out of a flute glass. Winnie recalls requests from others asking her to, "sing your old song, Winnie" 2. Suddenly, Winnie looks very alert. Her eyes dart to the right. Drumroll, please. It seems like Willie's back, and in style.

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