Away: Romeo and Juliet and Gwen Essay

Submitted By jade_gilmour
Words: 1083
Pages: 5

Michael Gow's Away is a slender, uncomplicated play, the kind of text that is illogically. The "plot" is unashamedly slight; the characters are sparsely drawn and not always likeable; the language is economical rather than memorably lyrical; and there are few issues of substance to debate. Where it arguably does shine is in Gow's unremitting and systematic dismantling of the petty deceptions and deceits that make daily living bearable for the characters. Once these emotional props are exposed, for what they are, newly vulnerable individuals are forced to confront unwelcome truths about themselves.
Ostensibly about three families setting out on their respective summer holidays, Away hones in fearlessly on the disconcerting aspects of their private lives. As the play progresses, we gradually become aware of the motivations and concerns that underpin their actions. We see how fraught and tenuous the relationships between family members are. We see what significance "going away" has for each individual, and how inextricably the rituals of holidaying are linked to both self-preservation and desire.
The character Gwen is the main protagonist who has a desire to win in the play Away. Gwen is seen as a stereotypical nagging wife and a mother who can be classified as a snob. Gwen’s dialogue is full of negativity and she is seen as a source of conflict and a barrier to winning a good life for her family. This is shown through her choice of achieving a good life by purchasing a new caravan “We’ve got a new caravan. Everything in it you could want.” She sees herself superior to others and has caused conflict in her relationship with her family for the expense of her material possessions and social status.
Gwen is driven to improve her life because of the childhood she lived. However, she is pushing her family away driving them to always have conflict. “This case won’t close” is a prime symbol which demonstrates the conflict in her family as Gwen has thought about her choices in life to gain money but has achieved this goal with the expense of her family. Gwen’s character displays the type of relationship she has with her loved ones, family, and friends and so on. As she has no intimacy or emotional connection with her daughter Meg, Meg shows no respect or courtesy towards Gwen. “Meg: When you’re married to someone, do you ever wish they were dead?” Jim: Please don’t be harsh towards your mother”. Meg despises Gwen because she is always nagging, seems materialistic, acts bossy and manipulative as well as being a snob in general.
Gwen’s dialogue throughout the play is very negative and this has a barrier on a healthy relationship with her family. By the end of the play she changes into a sympathetic and balanced individual after the storm takes away everything that she made sure her family had, and also after learning that some families really don’t have the greatest life. With the quote “Gwen: We can’t spend all night here. Not if you two want any sort of holiday. Say your goodnights, Margaret. Have you got the keys? Jim: Keys? I thought I gave them to you.” This is the beginning of Gwen’s first angry outburst. It is generated by her anxiety about the journey to be embarked upon the following day and the catalyst is the set of car keys – they are an essential component since without them, the journey ‘away’ cannot begin.
The death of Coral’s son has caused an emotional breakdown as she cannot accept her son’s death. Moreover, Coral has lost her social identity and tends to struggle to find a connection with anyone, as she “can’t think of anything to say”. Her husband, Roy, is annoyed by her bizarre attitude and this causes Coral to lower herself to the behaviour of a naïve child “I’ll be good! I’ll improve!” When Coral does begin to speak, it is presented as very expressive and mournful. Her tone is filled with emotion as she is constantly “wiping away tears”. Coral finally begins to socialize, with a woman