Fefu and Her Friends

by Maria Irene Fornes

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

He said that I had to be punished because I was getting too smart.

This quote is from Julia's hallucination. As she is muttering in her hallucinatory state, she touches on the subject of intelligence. The play is largely about the way women are treated in the time period, and Julia's quote talks about the cruel ways that women have been judged for not fitting the mold that society thought women should fit into.

We cannot survive in a vacuum. We must be part of a community.

Cecilia says this quote, which is interesting because it applies directly to the story of the play. The play is about this community of women and the many ways in which they benefit from each other—but also the ways in which they hurt each other. It feels like a way of saying that community is important, even though community is far from perfect. People still need friendships and conversation.

I had been so deprived in my childhood that I believed the rich were all happy.

This is another important quote said by Paula. At the time, she is upset because she feels like Cecilia has rejected her and refused to talk. She tells the other ladies that she had resented them. She tries to backpedal by acknowledging that they are doing good work now, and that she likes them, but this quote creates an awkward tension that questions the motivations of all the characters.

I try to swallow my emotions but I can't. They choke me. I want to rest . . .

This is a quote from Fefu near the end of the play, as she admits her weakness at last. Throughout the beginning of the play, she seems unaffected by everything. She seems to do as she pleases and not listen to other people. However, in this quote, along with the rest of her line here, she reveals her insecurities and her emotional turmoil, showing that she is not as strong and independent as she had made everyone believe.

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Critical Essays