Uncommon Women, and Others Summary

Summary (Masterpieces of American Literature)

Uncommon Women, and Others traces the choices and frustrations of a group of young women attending an exclusive women’s college in the early 1970’s, a time of social change in which the traditional family expectations for young women were giving way to new possibilities. The women are confused by the options open to them after graduation. The play depends less on plot than on character groupings. The characters form a spectrum of women, with Susie on one end of the spectrum and Carter on the other. Susie is a cheerleader and organizer who, without reflecting on life, bounces through a world of elegant teas, steady boyfriends, and career plans. Carter, on the other hand, is a withdrawn woman who lives solely in the world of the imagination.

Between these two peripheral characters are the five main characters, who are confused about their purposes and goals in life. On one side of the group is Kate, who wants to be a lawyer but feels that such a career choice will compel her to accept a lifetime of boring routines. On the other side is Samantha, a child/woman who will settle for marriage to a man whom she can encourage and stand behind. In the middle is the attractive Muffet, who does not know whether to wait for her prince or to strike out on her own. Balancing Kate and Samantha are two women who do not know what they want. The raunchy Rita does not want to live through a man, nor does she want the business world to transform her into the...

(The entire section is 573 words.)

Uncommon Women, and Others Bibliography (Masterpieces of American Literature)

Balakian, Jan. “Wendy Wasserstein: A Feminist Voice from the Seventies to the Present.” In The Cambridge Companion to American Women Playwrights, edited by Brenda Murphy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Barnett, Claudia. Wendy Wasserstein: A Casebook. New York: Garland, 1999.

Becker, Becky K. “Women Who Choose: The Theme of Mothering in Selected Dramas.” American Drama 6 (Spring, 1997): 43-57.

Betsko, Kathleen, and Rachel Koenig. “Wendy Wasserstein.” In Interviews with Contemporary Women Playwrights. New York: Beech Tree Books, 1987.

Ciociola, Gail. Wendy Wasserstein: Dramatizing Women, Their Choices, and Their Boundaries. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1998.

Franklin, Nancy. “The Time of Her Life.” New Yorker 73 (April 14, 1997): 62-68, 70-71.

Homes, A. M. “Wendy Wasserstein.” BOMB 75 (Spring, 2001): 34-39.

Hubbard, Kim. “Wendy Wasserstein.” People Weekly 33 (June 25, 1990): 99-106.

Rosen, Carol. “An Unconventional Life.” Theater Week 6 (November 8, 1992): 17-27.

Wasserstein, Wendy. “Holidays on the Keyboard.” In The Writing Life: Writers on How They Think and Work, edited by Marie Arana. New York: PublicAffairs, 2003.

Whitfield, Stephen J. “Wendy Wasserstein and the Crisis of (Jewish) Identity.” In Daughters of Valor: Jewish American Women Writers, edited by Jay Halio and Ben Siegel. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1997.