Identity Change In Margaret Edson's Play Wit

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Identity Change as a Result of Cancer Illness is a challenge that can take over many aspects of one’s life resulting in a change in identity. As seen in Margaret Edson’s play Wit, the main character Vivian Bearing is forced to face the traumatic experience that comes along with cancer. Vivian’s circumstances make it very easy to understand the many ways identity may be altered when dealing with a difficult situation. There are three major aspects of Vivian’s identity that are viewed throughout the play. First, the relationships Vivian has with others within the hospital plays an important role in the identity change she experienced, especially since they view her as a student instead of a professor. Second, Vivian’s personality shifts from …show more content…
The doctors always ask her questions such as, “Am I going to fast?” (Edson 3) or “Do you think you can be very tough?” (Edson 6) which confirms they may not believe she can handle what they are telling her. Vivian states, “They read me like a book” (Edson 23) which demonstrates her feeling a loss of respect since she is only viewed as research by the doctors. This results in her feeling a loss in her identity as a professor. A supporting article “The Role Of Identity in Adjustment Among Survivors of Oesophageal Cancer (English)” by Ceara Clarke, Noleen McCorry, and Martin Dempter, discusses a form of cancer different that Vivian’s, but it still supports the argument that identity change is common among cancer patients. These survivors felt “tensions between former roles and new identities” (Clarke et al. 102) and “altered familial and societal roles” (Clarke et al. 105) which can be applied to what Vivian experienced, as well. This can relate to Vivian’s tensions between her former self as a professor and the new her as a student. In her earlier life, she was always the one in charge – the one doing the examinations. Now, she is the object of study, the student, and the research. The relationship

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