Does eNotes have ANY literary criticism on Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite?"  I'm desperate!  CR, High School Librarian

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wordprof eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Neil Simon’s plays submit to literary criticism only on the lowest level, because their first function is as “commodity,” not literary art.  His characters are not universal, and his language is not poetical.  Having said that, however, the title Plaza Suite is a play on words – a suite of plays (three, but four originally) and a suite of rooms.  The “comic” situation in the most complete of the three “plays” revolves around a wedding party and a reluctant bride-to-be, Mimsey.  The culture is urban (New York), upper-middle class, and the characters are fairly superficially drawn, more cartoon than psychologically complex.  The only cement is that all three scenes take place in the same hotel suite.  Even the play’s structure is weak for critical analysis.  It is true that one can treat any text (even the phone book) as “literature,” but Neil Simon makes only a minimum effort to qualify as literature worthy of the time to analyse it.  It is entertainment with minimal lasting value.  For modern drama, go to  Sam Shepard, Tom Stoppard,or (for mature students) David Mamet. In the major literary critical area – language, characterization, universal theme – Simon’s plays are cotton candy, not porterhouse steak.  Wordprof

Scott Locklear eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Plaza Suite is discussed briefly (very briefly) in the context of Simon's other works in the criticism essays at the link below.

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