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A monologue from the play by Thornton Wilder
Emily has just died in childbirth and has been given the chance to go back home to a time she wishes to see.
Looking at her mother and father whom she will never see again, she realizes that it was a mistake have gone back.
(softly, more in wonder than in grief)
I can’t bear it. They’re so young and beautiful. Why did they ever have to get old? Mama, I’m here. I’m grown up. I love you all, everything.
– I cant look at everything hard enough. (pause, talking to her mother who does not hear her. She speaks with mounting urgency)
Oh, Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me. Mama, fourteen years have gone by. I’m dead. You’re a grandmother, Mama.
I married George Gibbs, Mama. Wally’s dead, too. Mama, his appendix burst on a camping trip to North Conway. We felt just terrible about it – don’t you remember?
But, just for a moment now we’re all together. Mama, just for a moment we’re happy. Let’s look at one another. (pause, looking desperate because she has received no answer.
She speaks in a loud voice, forcing herself to not look at her mother) I can’t. I can’t go on. It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another.
(she breaks down sobbing, she looks around) I didn’t realize. All that was going on in life and we never noticed. Take me back – up the hill – to my grave.
But first: Wait! One more look. Good-by, Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover’s Corners? Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking? and Mama’s sunflowers.
And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths? and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.
(she asks abruptly through her tears) Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? – every, every minute? (she sighs) I’m ready to go back.
I should have listened to you. That’s all human beings are! Just blind people.