Sunday, April 4, 2010

Pinter: The Homecoming

Winter Quarter acting class for LA Internship Students.

What’s going on at the end of The Homecoming?

This one has been talked about—and never definitively--for the more than forty-five years since the play was written. And for just about every response you will imagine, you can find somebody who has already proposed it and others who have refuted it.

Here’s my take:
With many playwrights, the end of the play (what everything is getting to) is a good place to start to figure out what must be happening at the beginning (what do you start with in order to get inevitably to that end?) as well as a good way to get at what the whole play is dramatizing about being human.
But Pinter famously wrote his plays by starting with a simple image or a bit of dialogue and then writing on just to see where it would take him. Of The Homecoming he said he started with the first line: “What have you done with the scissors?”
He had no idea who was saying it or to whom it was being said. But as soon as the answer came—“Why don’t you shut up, you daft prat?” --he had what he called ‘the spring of drama’.
He said that The Homecoming was the first of his plays actually to “find its form”.
So it seems to me a good idea to start at the beginning of the play and see where/how we get to the end.

Act One

A young man wearing a dark suit sits on a sofa quietly reading the newspaper, specifically the racing page. An old man comes in wearing a cardigan and a cap and carrying a stick. He goes to the sideboard, opens a drawer, rummages (noise noise). He walks around the room, looks about. Finally he says, “What have you done with the scissors?” [A smile from audience members. If you’re lucky on some nights, a chuckle. They all know what it’s like to have a parent justify not being able to do something by accusing the child of related wrong-doing.]

The young man does not respond.

Old man with more authority and frustration: “I said I’m looking for the scissors. What have you done with them?”

The audience looks to the young man who again does absolutely nothing in response. Not even a slight shuffle of the newspaper. The audience chuckles.

Old man, growing impatience as he tries to get affirmation of his power in this relationship and situation: “Did you hear me? I want to cut something out of the paper?”

Young man continuing to look at the paper, stating a fact, deliberately not recognizing conflict, and knowing that in so doing, he will stoke the old man’s fire: “I’m reading the paper”. [Chuckle.]

Old man tries scorn as a way to keep or to gain the upper hand: “Not that paper. I haven’t even read that paper. I’m talking about last Sunday’s paper. I was just having a look at it in the kitchen”.

A pause as he waits for a response, which, of course, he does not get. The young man knows how to play this power game.

“Do you hear what I’m saying? I’m talking to you! Where’s the scissors?”

Finally, looking up, speaking quietly, even reasonably, the young man says: “Why don’t you shut up, you daft prat?” [gasp, laugh, hoot, whatever in the audience]

The old man raises his stick and threatens physical violence that he is incapable (any more) of following through with.

And so on.

What unfolds after this are the contentious relationships among a family of five working class men who actively and elementally resent and mistrust one another—deep rooted hatred, long held grudges, hostility barely kept beneath the surface. It is vulgar and unpleasant. And it’s out loud funny.

It’s important to identify the source of the comedy of a play and of individual scenes rather than simply to make individual moments or lines funny. The source of the comedy can point the way to the true heart of the play. What is the comedy in this old man vilifying and threatening his grown son with the violence he used to deliver regularly as an angry abusive young husband and father? Why do we laugh when the son calmly responds by utterly ignoring the harangue as if he and his father were having a simple, neutral uncharged conversation? What’s the source of the humor in the relationship between the resentful old man and his prissy bachelor brother, who each revile the other’s very existence? Not to mention the son’s blatant ridiculing of his uncle, who chooses not to deal directly with it (Why?). And finally the dim lumbering younger brother who, if he knows he’s being ridiculed, hasn’t the verbal wherewithal to compete.

What’s the source of the comedy? What’s being dramatized here?

In class, a student once said he thinks when we sit in a theatre with a group of people watching a Pinter play, we laugh because we realize that things we thought were dark secrets within our own lives are actually shared by others--and so we laugh both nervously and in happy surprise and relief.

When the lights come up on the next scene, Teddy and Ruth are discovered standing in the archway wearing traveling clothes, suitcases on the floor at their side. What follows is a still, restrained interchange (in contrast to what has preceded it) between an educated husband and wife in which the drama and the comedy are found in the wound-up unstated, even flat-out denied panic crackling just behind the husband’s tight, seemingly self-assured manner and played against the wife’s calm reserve and only slightly registered amusement at his tight-assedness.
We understand Teddy through Ruth’s unspoken responses and ringing pauses. And what we notice most strikingly is his utter unwillingness to acknowledge both his dislike of his family and his fear of them, however palpable that dislike and fear may be and however much he may try to lay the discomfort of the situation on her supposed uneasiness and his willingness to help her.
Ruth is a self-contained woman of great equipoise. She offers a comment or a suggestion and if it is dismissed or contradicted, she registers not a hint of displeasure, engages not at all in argument. She simply remains silent and lets it die. The flicker of a smile that plays in her eyes and at the corners of her mouth tells us what she’s thinking. It’s a smile almost without humor, born of years of dealing with a narrow-minded arrogant control freak who will not so much as entertain an opposing point of view to anything he believes. It’s as though she knows we’re watching and she trusts us to get it. We quickly become her confederates.
With all her calm quiet seeming acquiescence, however, she does exactly as she wants. Pinter said of her that she is “the nearest to a free woman that I’ve ever written—a free and independent mind”. She leaves the house to take a “stroll” (It’s the middle of the night!) Teddy watches her through the window and chews his knuckles.

Lenny and Teddy encounter each other next and within the outer form of exchanging social pleasantries, they manifest absolute mutual brotherly contempt. It, too, as well as being harrowing, is out loud funny. (What do we recognize in them?)

In the sequence that follows with Lenny and Ruth, Ruth displays her unflappable ability to put men in their place if need be. Lenny tries every tactical trick he’s got to knock her off balance, to unsettle her, even to frighten her with barely veiled threats of violence—all within the trappings of polite conversation. She responds serenely, deftly, without the slightest direct acknowledgment of his obvious provocations nor with any overt suggestion that she knows there is a contest of wills to win.
And so win she does.

What comes next is perhaps the darkest and vilest confrontation in the play—and naturally, one of the funniest: the late-night dust up between Lenny and Max. As in their first scene, Lenny responds to Max’s vitriol with the outward form of seemingly polite, even mundane father-and-son conversation, but fueled by his anger at being defeated by Ruth, he strikes directly at the frightened impotent core of this old man. It is an angry bitter climax to the whole sequence that began with Teddy and Ruth standing quietly in the archway.

Lights up quickly on the following morning. There’s a funny and uncomfortable Max/Joey interchange in which both Joey’s dislike of Max and his inability/unwillingness to confront him as Lenny does come through in his awkward avoidance of accepting Max’s invitation to go to a football game, which is followed by Max and Sam pushing their mutual antagonism one step further over meals and clean-up.

Finally Teddy and Ruth appear for the meeting with Max that we’ve been waiting for. And Max does not disappoint. The contempt he demonstrates for Teddy in the brutality of his mock surprise and his deliberate ignorance of who Ruth is is shocking (and, of course, hilarious) while Ruth’s absolute poise and unshockability in the face of this assault seals the deal: This woman is unassailable.

As in his opening scenes with Ruth and with Lenny, Teddy continues here to choose to pretend that the hostile undercurrents do not exist, as he must have done through most of his life; and to assume an intellectual superiority and thus to rise above it all. In doing so, however, he doesn’t free himself; he only refuses to play; and so he loses.
On the other hand, Ruth communicates clearly, if beneath the surface, that she is aware of the contest and that she will not be intimidated by the gamesmanship—and in so doing she establishes her power in the situation.

So what do we have? A family of men who hate one another utterly but who reserve a special core contempt for the oldest son/brother who has returned unannounced after six years. He brings his wife who seems to view them all from a place of bemused remove and quiet fearlessness.

Beneath the narrative: Shared pasts. People who know where all the vulnerabilities lie. Resentments that have bred years of on-going power struggles. A family whose tentative equilibrium is maintained by the individual wielding of threat and counter-threat—never actually verbalized because such acknowledgement is itself a weakness to be exploited by others. It’s volatile. It’s dangerous. But it’s also a stalemate.

To one degree or another, in some form or another, it describes the dynamics of lots of families.

Act Two

It’s an after-lunch coffee and cigars scene with its veneer of polite conversation designed by Max and Lenny to communicate long-held hostilities and resentment aimed particularly at skewering Teddy. Ruth punctures Max’s balloon with her “What happened to the group of butchers” as she did to Lenny in Act I with “How did you know she was diseased?” (I think of these as akin to Indiana Jones firing a single pistol shot as his response to the complicated sabre-wielding acrobatics of his assailant.)

In response, Max spews his venom first on the easiest target: Sam.
Then he goes for Teddy.
And Teddy does not defend himself. Or Ruth. He continues to refuse to recognize/admit that he is being attacked or that anything needs defending.

Ruth decides to dip her toe in, to touch on sensitive issues. She introduces, however indirectly, the subject of her origins. She starts with Teddy’s need to have Max’s approval of his marriage to her. Perhaps she’s testing to see how far this situation will go before something (Teddy) will finally burst. Perhaps she’s hoping Teddy will realize the ridiculousness of his caring what Max thinks.

Teddy does not take the bait. His consequent description of their life in America seems manufactured and flimsy.
Max’s “Eh, tell me, do you think the children are missing their mother?” is a direct challenge to Ruth.
The stage directions indicate that she looks at him. But she says nothing. Teddy feels the need to explain (of course the children miss us, we’ll be going soon) and so he sputters.
The next interchange between Lenny and Teddy about their cigars going out surely is one of those times when a cigar is not just a cigar.

Finally Max and Lenny go for/at Teddy. Lenny turns the idea of philosophy into a pretzel of philosophical absurdity. And still Teddy simply will not engage.
When Max and Lenny practically get to laughing outright in Teddy’s face (Joey as usual is dense and oblivious), Ruth finally intervenes with her “I…move my leg…I wear underwear which moves with me” speech, a game changer for the men and for the play.

What’s happening here? So far, all the gamesmanship, all aspects of the pissing contest have been conducted verbally, even in the abstract, however earthy the language. This final attack on Teddy and philosophy reaches an extreme of deliberate and conceptual humiliation.
To counter it all, to defeat it, Ruth introduces the concrete, the sensory, and she does so in a provocative and highly-charged way—though she suggests that if the men interpret her moving of her leg or the moving of her lips as sensual or sexual, that may say more about them than about her. They may “misinterpret”.

The men are stunned. Teddy stands up (why?), says nothing. Does he sense where she’s going with this? What her goal is? Is he aware that she has just taken the contest into a realm where he will not go? Is he afraid that she’s giving the opposition ammunition? that she might reveal the truth about her past and her sexualness?
Whatever his astonishment, Ruth continues. She was born near here, she says, and then six years ago she went to America: Rocks sand and insects. Clearly she isn’t as happy as Teddy pretended only minutes earlier.
Then Max stands but not until after

She is still.

Why doesn’t Max instigate further and provoke an even greater humiliation of Teddy?
Max is no dummy when it comes to gamesmanship. He knows this is not the time to try to further one up anybody. A stunning blow has been struck. Nothing to be gained by rubbing Teddy’s nose in it yet. Rather let him stew a bit. Time to gather forces somewhere away from the battle lines. Time to let Teddy deal with this dropped bomb. Or is it a hot potato?
(Whatever it is, it is time for me to stop all the mixed metaphors.)
Max and Lenny and Joey leave.

Once they are alone, Ruth repeatedly gives Teddy every opportunity to admit that he fears and hates his family (as she did even when they first arrived last night: “Do you want to leave?” “The children might be missing us”). Since nearly her every response in this scene is a question asking him to vent his rage, his fears, his hatred, it seems to me that this indeed has been the goal of everything she’s done during the after-lunch coffee of Act II.
But Teddy won’t/can’t take advantage of this opportunity, can’t/won’t come right out and admit it. Rather he leaves her with his typical “You rest” to go upstairs and pack and she closes her eyes. Not in rest, surely, but in-- concern? frustration? resignation? Is this a game changer for her too?

When Lenny comes in he feels safe enough to sit next to her and she lets him.
Ruth: I modeled for porn. I made a living from sex. (Some think she is saying that she misses that life, longs to return to it. I’m not convinced.)
Teddy comes downstairs with their suitcases and jackets.
Lenny has been emboldened. He senses an opportunity to stick it to Teddy. How about a last dance with his sister-in-law? Then while they’re dancing, how about a kiss? Considering what kind of a sexual creature Lenny is (even if the story he tries to intimidate Ruth with in Act I, in which he beats up the woman under the arch, isn’t true, it’s a representation of what he imagines; and the fact that a fun sexual encounter for him is watching Joey rape strangers), none of this is either sexual or provocative, however much an assault on Teddy it is meant to be.

Joey comes in and reads the situation at its most literal: Lenny’s got a tart here. Joey takes over, sits on the sofa with Ruth, embraces her, kisses her, lies—stage directions-- heavily on her and-- stage directions--they are almost still, all the while punctuating the action with comments to Lenny: “This is right up my street” “It’s better than a rubdown”. Lenny watches. Ruth and Joey roll onto the floor. Lenny touches Ruth with his foot.

This is all shocking but is it titillating? is it sexually arousing? is it even sexual? It seems to me to be particularly pheromone-and-hormone-free. It’s still about power and oneupmanship. This is the family Teddy will neither confront nor deny.
Suddenly Ruth pushes Joey away and stands up. He gets to his feet and stares at her. She then demonstrates how pitifully impotent they all are. (I want something to eat. Get me something to drink. Not in this glass. Put it in a tumbler.) And they respond, almost powerless to oppose her. Joey certainly is. But are they powerless because suddenly they are all in her sexual thrall? Or is it still mostly about Teddy? As Lenny gets drinks for all, he seems to be delighting in watching Teddy deal with this situation.

Finally Ruth turns to Teddy: “Have your family read your critical works?” Is this an attack on Teddy or is a challenge to him? Probably both. Is she trying to get Teddy to react? to lash out? to free himself? I think so—even as she may be also lacerating him with the truth of his own limitations.
Teddy digs in, pulling himself as metaphorically high above them as he can. He declares that he lives in the intellectual abstract realm free of passion, free of conflict, and he intends to stay there—watching them all from above.

Lights up on the sad and creepy little scene with Sam and Teddy as they sit near the suitcases waiting for Ruth to come downstairs. What is Sam suggesting by asking Teddy if he "took to" MacGregor and telling him that he was his mother Jessie’s favorite, the “main object of her love” and that he is Sam’s favorite as well? What is he implying by saying that if Teddy stayed a couple of weeks they could “have a few laughs”. (A closer look at what sexual intimacy—or just sexual activity--means to each of the men in this play makes it more unlikely that all of this is leading to a simple sexual homecoming.)

In the whole cheese roll sequence that follows, Lenny comes as close as ever to stating baldly the reasons for the depth of his and Max’s hatred of Teddy. The closer he gets, however, the funnier he gets in his astonishment at Teddy’s pilfering of the cheese roll. No direct statements of feelings in this house.

Joey comes downstairs. Two hours with Ruth upstairs and Joey, the only male in the family who actually has sex with women—though take note from the story he and Lenny relate later what the nature of that sexual activity is—has discovered that he doesn’t have to go “whole hog”, that he can be happy going “no hog at all”. Joey, it seems, lacks maternal comforting more than he needs sex and brutality.
And as a side note, Ruth has therefore engaged in no actual sexual activity.

While the entire next section concerning setting Ruth up in business is outrageous and outrageously funny, it isn’t actually about Ruth. Once again, it’s Max and Lenny going after Teddy. (Joey is too dim to grasp it and Sam will finally explode in rage at the absurdity of it all.) They aren’t seriously proposing the arrangement; they are seriously torturing Teddy with what is a perceived dysfunction in his marriage. And, of course, so long as he refuses to engage, they continue to elaborate. And Ruth lets them dig themselves deeper.
Why does Ruth do what she does here? I think she once again wants Teddy to be pushed far enough to assert himself, to stand up to Max and Lenny, and to defeat them.

Teddy may have an infinite capacity to disengage, but finally Sam can’t take the ridiculousness of the situation and he shouts straight out the truth that has stood between him and Max for the last many years. “I drove Mac and Jessie around while they fucked in the back seat.” It is the only time in the play when such a truth is so clearly stated. Then Sam nearly suffers a stroke or a heart attack and Max accuses him of having “a diseased imagination”. So much for the truth clearly stated.

There comes a point in the creating of this business arrangement when the men, being who they are, can’t or won’t back down (Where does this occur?). It’s not about actually getting Ruth to become the wife/mother/whore in their deprived male lives. Rather, it’s all about the drive to win, to do anything to keep from losing this battle rooted in years and years of contempt and resentment. It’s about doing anything to humiliate Teddy.
And note what Ruth creates as that future domestic situation they are suggesting: They will supply her with a flat, with clothes, with all necessities. She agrees to do nothing specific in return. And she says they will proceed only when a completely legal document has been signed.
Is this actually going to happen? I can’t believe that it is. She is simply calling their collective bluff.

As it turns out, the stick up Teddy’s ass is so firmly and deeply rooted that it probably won’t ever come out. For all of Pinter’s and his critics’ talk of his characters having no actual past, no back story, the clues to the relationship of Teddy to his brothers and to his father from the time that he was born absolutely account for his retreat into his intellect as a way to elude them, to survive. And finally, it’s become his prison.
He leaves to get a ride to the airport without Ruth rather than confronting the reality of his situation. In all of drama is there a more extreme example of a man determined to live a life in denial of the truth about his family and his relationship to that truth? (Okay, maybe Oedipus—but then he’s not in denial, he’s just blind.)

So: What’s happening at the end of The Homecoming?

Sam lies immobilized on the floor. Lenny stands watching, realizing, I think, that in the intensity of their attack on Teddy they have lost all leverage in the situation and Ruth has seized power. Joey, pieta like and unaware, finds maternal comfort with Ruth. And crawling toward Ruth on the floor, Max verbalizes their great fears: Ruth doesn’t really plan to go along with them, does she? She’s using them, isn’t she? Things will go badly, won’t they? They’ve been beat at their own game, haven’t they?
How did they get here? What terrible thing will happen if this situation continues?

If there were one more scene to come, any of several possibilities could follow logically from what has gone before: Ruth could say she plans to look at flats the next day and then go upstairs, leaving the men to decide what to do next. Or she might simply stand up, take her suitcase, and leave. At which point the men might go back to life as it was or they might realize that they have to figure out a new way to co-exist. Then she might catch up with Teddy. (He did say they could manage “until you come back”). Or she could seek out former friends in the sex business to give her a helping hand. Or…? Or…?
It doesn’t matter.

Pinter’s plays tend not to go about being “about” something the way traditional realistic plays are about something. With traditional realistic plays you end with a clear sense of how life will go on after the curtain falls. With this play, there is no life after the curtain falls. The convoluted system of interaction in this family by which each member uses the fears and weaknesses of the others to maintain an advantage; the way each uses whatever leverage he has to keep himself from succumbing to the contempt of the others; the way they all keep the tentative and volatile equilibrium of this family going; has come to an end. Ruth has beaten them at their game. And she has also left the sterile life with Teddy in America, perhaps for good. A situation has worked itself to a conclusion. A point has been made. Period.
What happens next? It doesn’t matter.

Pinter said “I thought I was dealing with love in The Homecoming”. If it is love that the play deals with, I think that love is Ruth’s love for Teddy. They come back to his childhood home and she tries to get him to break free of its stranglehold on his humanity. The action of the play is her increasingly extreme attempts to get him to act passionately in his self-defense.
Imagine how the action of the play would change if at any of those moments Teddy would just say, “I hate you all. I have hated you since the day I was born. You’re low, vulgar, common and I’m glad finally to rip you out of my soul and my life”. Or if he had just said to Ruth when they were alone, “You’re right. I hate these people. They bullied me my whole life and in my heart of hearts I have wished them all dead. I need you. I love you. Let’s go home”.
The sequel—Homecoming II: The Return to America—might then be about freeing him from that stick he’s got lodged so firmly up and so deep within.

As it is, her final words to him are "Eddie." [The only time in the play this name is used and surely an intimate endearment] “Don’t become a stranger”.
And what does he do? Teddy goes, shuts the front door.

Post Script One:

All this being said, I can understand the point of view that the homecoming in the play is Ruth’s; that it is here, near her birth place, that she comes to see clearly how much she hates her life with Teddy in America and that she misses the Ruth she left behind, however unsavory that life may have been. And so she decides to take advantage of the opportunity to build another life here.
This take on the play does imply a life after the final curtain. And it is just that life, created/envisioned by the last tableau of the play, that causes problems for me: are these men, without great financial means, really going to go through with all this, knowing that Ruth will be legally obligated to do nothing for them? And is Ruth really planning to become a part of these men’s lives, however much she would be in control? If not, is she really planning, in her mid-thirties, to set herself up as a prostitute? None of this seems to be much of an alternative future for that free and independent mind.

Addendum to Post Script One:
I also haven't been able to buy into the idea that it is Ruth's homecoming in the sense that she is "not well" and that this trip is designed to help her with her presumably sexual illness; that when she goes for her stroll Teddy chews his knuckles because he is concerned about her; that she insinuates herself into the family so that she can conquer them sexually and free herself from the suffocation of her marriage.

Post Script Two:

Most discussions of The Homecoming focus on gender issues (woman as wife, mother, whore; man as beast, however impotent a beast) and sexual politics. While these issues are part of the lifeblood of the play and even a central idea of the narrative, I have never been convinced that they are truly what the play is dramatizing, what the play is getting at. They may constitute an idea within the play but—to borrow Eric Bentley’s phrase—you must try to get at the idea behind the idea.

And that’s what I’m still trying to do.


  1. What a pure pleasure (bittersweet) to find this posted as I reviewed emails from my cubicle. Haven't had the opportunity to think about Homecoming for decades.
    Wonderful to be reminded of just how it works, how it unfolds, in your typically detailed walk through.
    Many, many thoughts in response without time to articulate here. Perhaps later, perhaps off-line.
    But thanks for remindng me of what I love about this play and playwright (as well as some good times a long while ago.)

  2. Very good discussion all around, David. Thanks.

    I recently saw a very good production of this play here in Minneapolis. They really hit many of the notes you mentioned above, so it was interesting to read your narrative.

    In the production I saw, the whole play became quite clear to me in Ruth's line, "Don't be a stranger." That brought everything into focus for me. And your notes here further support some of my thoughts.

    At bottom, I think the play is about Ruth and Teddy's relationship. I think that their life in America has gone about as far as it can go, and now needs THE HOMECOMING to transform it. I do believe Ruth is trying to provoke Teddy into freeing himself. And I think Teddy wants to be free, but is unable/unwilling to go far enough to be free. Do you know how they catch monkey's in the wild? They put a banana in a jar with an opening just big enough for the monkey to reach in. The monkey reaches in and grabs the banana, but can't get his hand out without letting it go. But he won't let it go, so he's easily captured. For all of Ruth's efforts, Teddy won't let go of the banana: all his contempt for his family and all his defenses against them.

    Ruth, on the other hand, knows that no matter how much she may want to, she cannot continue with Teddy until he has put these demons to rest, and has probably made that clear to Teddy, setting this homecoming in motion. I think she tries her best to weaken them, and provoke Teddy, to a state where Teddy can finally win -- or at least break free. Then, and only then, will she be free to remain with him, which I think she desperately wants. So, here we see a man and a woman who want absolutely to remain together, and one sets things up so they can be, while the other is unable to hit the ball out of the park, so to speak. Thus, they cannot be.

    I think Ruth (who I believe cannot be beaten by these men, and knows it) will remain in the heart of the beast, controlling and manipulating her in-laws to serve her own needs -- as she has done all her life -- until Teddy gets the balls to return and do what needs to be done.

    Some may argue that Ruth is trading one prison for another, but I don't think so. I think life with Teddy in America has been her prison, and now she has found the key to both her own freedom and Teddy's. And she'll freely remain with "the key" as enticement for Teddy to return, and to keep and eye on it.

  3. David, thanks for taking the time to comment. I love the anecdote about capturing monkeys.
    Sometimes I think The Homecoming is an inside-out A Doll's House. In A Doll's House, Nora leaves home to find out who she is. In The Homecoming Nora refuses to return home until Torvald finds out who he is and takes action to deal with it.

  4. Hey David, this is a very insightful response to the play. I wish I could have read this before we had started to work on it. It is amazing how many layers you see in those relatively spartan lines of dialogue. Thanks again for all of the help and advice. I will be reading as much of this blog as I can!

  5. I have another Pinter ending question? Do you have any wisdom regarding the end of "Old Times"? I'm working on the Anna/Deeley scene you mentioned in another post. In the end are Anna and Kate one and the same person? Or are Kate's final monologues a description of her attempt to "kill" the Anna piece of her personality, a piece that she perhaps is frightened or ashamed of? Or has she discovered that her relationship with Anna is really the only fulfilling relationship she has had, despite her efforts since? All too pat for Pinter I think. Would love your insight.


  6. Judy, it's a bit too complicated for a Comment. But I'll work up a response and post it as another actual entry.

  7. With Pinter you never really know, because his plots are multi-linear and so is the structure. Like Pinter himself puts it. There are about 24 possible interpretations to a single statement depending upon the time and place and what the weather is like. The deliberately created ambivalence and ambiguity blurs a single point and images fuse and branch out at nodal points. So its like life, with no single meaning to it. I am from India and sometime tend to naturalize the situations presented by him according to my environment.