Themes and Meanings (Masterplots II: Drama)
Amid more than two decades of social change witnessed by her baby-boomer friends and acquaintances, Heidi’s chronic unhappiness emerges as one of The Heidi Chronicles’ most significant constants. It is certainly her most troubling character trait: Peter justifiably states that this sadness “seems a luxury” in comparison with the difficulties faced by AIDS victims and their loved ones; Heidi herself is puzzled by her feelings of worthlessness and isolation. By the end of the play, however, it is clear that her discontent emanates from a profound awareness that she is living in an era during which her cherished ideals have become as passe as any other trend embraced and then discarded by her peers.
As Scoop tells Heidi in the 1960’s: “You’ll be one of those true believers who didn’t understand it was just a phase.” Indeed, while her mild temperament precludes her becoming a radical activist, she devotes her career to advancing the cause of women in art, even when this sort of dedication is no longer in vogue among her friends. Susan, for example, distances herself from the movement’s concerns when she immerses herself in a business career in the 1980’s.
If Heidi’s feeling of estrangement from other women intensifies during the latter portion of the play, her lack of self-esteem, particularly in relation to Scoop, persists throughout the work. “I keep allowing this guy to account for so much of what I think of...
(The entire section is 426 words.)
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