what is the significance of Winnie's progressive burrial?


Happy Days

Asked on

1 Answer | Add Yours

wordprof's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

Winnie, the speaker representing the mental part of human existence, is half buried in sand, "up to her bosom" in Act I of the play.  She spends the time pulling various items out of a bag, all the while talking to (sort of) Willie, who represents the physical part of human existence.  In Act II things have changed -- Winnie is now neck deep in her cone of sand.  "Burial" is an oversimple explanation -- to be sure, Beckett is concerned with it ("We are born astride a grave -- the light gleams an instant, and it's night once more."), but here the gradual immersion into "mother earth" also represents Winnie's change in her relationship with Willie, from husband-wife to child-mother.  Beckett's play, like so many two-act plays (a modern form challenging the traditional three-act form of development--complication--denouement) is a dramatic imitation of the idea of things changing only slightly, but significantly -- a near-repetition of our youth re-enacted in old age, when our physicality and our
"mental" facultiest become reconciled.  Simply put, the sinking into the sand is a device representing Winnie's aging and growing understanding of her dilemma, her facticity.  Beckett spent his entire life trying to express this "ineffable" state.

We’ve answered 287,456 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question