‘Night, Mother – A Very Brief Summary

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April 16, 2013 by ArtBlogger

‘Night, Mother


* Author: Marsha Norman

(One act play)

{Time begins at 8:15pm and ends before 10:00pm (1hr 45 min of drama setting)}


Jessie Cates (female character)

Thelma Cates – mother of Jessie (female character)

Dawson – Thelma’s son (offstage male character)

Cecil – Jessie’s ex-husband (offstage male character)

Ricky – Jessie’s son


Brief summary in points:

    • Jessie searches for her father’s gun location to shoot herself. Mother unaware of it, helps her find it. She finds it in father’s old shoe-box.
    • Jessie teaches her mother various things like how to use washes, dryer and when to put out garbage. She requests her mother Thelma not to call her brother Dawson or ambulance when she dies.
    • Mama then believes in Jessie’s intention. Jessie has a number of reasons for her suicidal thinking:
          1. Her mother’s close friend Agene stops coming to her house because of Jessie’s sickness (epilepsy).
          2. She is divorced by her husband.
          3. He has illegal relation with neighbour’s daughter.
          4. Jessie’s son has become a robber, and
          5. Recently, she has been fired from the hospital gift shop because of her sickness.
    • Mama feels guilty but Jessie says that it’s her own will. Mama tries a lot to stop Jessie from killing herself but she’s unable to do.
    • Jessie leaves the room saying  “‘Night, Mother” (good night, mother) and shoots herself going inside a room. We (Readers and audience) don’t know where she shoots because only sound is heard.
    • At last, mother slowly and calmly dials Dawson’s phone number.


    • suicidal theme / isolation
    • women as main characters
    • simple short dialogues
    • minimal setting like of absurd dramas
    • woman exploits woman

– done by Sudha Aryal


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