What does Winnie think about words? (Happy days)


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Remember that Winnie is not a “character” in the modern sense of the word – not a psychological entity who “thinks” (that is, has an opinion or intellectual awareness). Winnie’s  words are utterances with a simple motive: to utter; they exist as spontaneous verbal reactions to the extremely limited outer world (things in her bag, her parasol, etc.); that is, to assign any other motives or speech acts to them is to mistake her function as a representative of the human ability to think.  Granted, she prays, and seems to think that prayers are effective, “not for naught,” and she refrains from complaining (“mustn’t complain”), and she reads her prescription bottle, and she addresses Willie, and envies his ability to sleep, but nowhere does she comment on the fact that she is speaking.  For Beckett, speech is the involuntary act of  the mind, which “passes the time” (Waiting for Godot) but is basically devoid of content (see Lucky’s monologue in Godot as an exemplary model).  

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