Aging, Old Age, and Generational Relationships in Plays by Wendy Wasserstein and Tina Howe

By Chin-ying Chang.

Published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 23, 2016 $US5.00

This article explores selected plays by Wendy Wasserstein and Tina Howe, who portray the female experience of aging and old age through an investigation of their portrayal of relationships among women of different generations. In Wasserstein’s plays, women who grew up under the influence of the second wave of feminism are determined to pursue individual independence and autonomy by escaping the institutions of marriage and family, and face the discomforting experience of aging. By contrast, their mothers, who conform to the conventional life course, feel less anguish toward aging. Howe indicates that the lives of the older and the younger people are intertwined, and thus, celebrates continuity among the different generations of women. By recognizing this continuity, the younger women are inspired by the older women’s perseverance in the face of life and death, and they take care of the older women. Furthermore, the celebration of generational continuity through the affirmation of individual contributions and values challenges the sociocultural stereotype of older people as senile, powerless, and worthless.

Keywords: Aging, Old Age, Generational Relationship, Wendy Wasserstein, Tina Howe

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 14, Issue 4, December 2016, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 23, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 540.386KB)).

Dr. Chin-ying Chang

Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Linguistics and Language Studies, Chung Yuan Christian University, Taoyuan City, Taiwan