This long one-act play dramatizes four pairs of characters arriving at the beach for a day of basking in the life-giving sun. Abigail and Benjamin, and Cordelia and Daniel are two young couples in their twenties and thirties but unhappily married, for Benjamin and Daniel are truly in love but prevented by society, in the form of Daniel’s father Henden, from being together. The marriages are for show only. The third couple is Henden (age seventy), Daniel’s father, and Gertrude (age sixty), his second wife, Cordelia’s mother from a previous marriage. Edmee and Fergus, a mother in her forties and her sixteen year-old son, do not know the others initially, but through conversations casually struck up they make their acquaintances. The two young men are trying hard to lead their marital lives peacefully but they fail. Abigail tries to drown herself but is rescued. Cordelia is trying with the help of alcohol to maintain the stability of her marriage, but seems unable to accept the idea that her husband is still leading a gay life. Henden dies because of age-related stress, Gertrude is left alone. Fergus disappears leaving his possessive mother also alone.
Women in Solitude in Edward Albee’s Finding the Sun
Hadeel M. A bdel- Hameed, Raya O. Al-Naqshabandy University of Baghdad, Introduction
Tonight our nation – born in rebellion – pays tribute to you Edward Albee. In your rebellion, the American theater was reborn (Gussow 2001:385).
By these words ex-President Clinton welcomed Edward Albee during the Honorary Award Ceremony of the Kennedy Center to the playwright in 1997. This rebel has been acclaimed as one of the controversial playwrights who have an ‘unmistakable influence on contemporary American drama’ (Roudane 2000:22).
Most, if not all, of Albee’ s plays have attracted various interpretations and controversial reviews. Actually, Edward Albee plays reveal the fragility of life. He does not write about human emotions or relationships within contexts that we like to see or hear; on the contrary he uses ‘abstract symbols and ideas to portray unidentifiable fears, subtle truths and intangible illusions’ (Johnson 1968) that pervade our daily lives.
His élan is that man is basically alone. He bares the soul of his characters forcing them to face their naked inner reality with their fundamental fears; philosophically, his characters are situated within the story as Albee’s means of aesthetically confronting existential solitude. This essay will engage with the plot of the play; whilst it seems to be merely re-telling its plot, this close textural reference to the story is designed to highlight that within every-day human activity men and women, despite having gathered together within a social environment, are unable to communicate with one another, or achieve intimacy. Women, Albee shows specifically, are more aware of this isolation than men. In order that Albee access this propensity they are shown to be the recipients of male impotence whilst they endure a spiritual impotence that resonates in the living out of their days. They experience sexual and spiritual malaises with their spouses as well as leading personally desolate lives. Albee may be inferring that one is the cause of the other or that one metaphorically mirrors the other. The point of this study is to explore the plot to identify this double mirroring showing how Albee’s existential philosophy lives within the plot as an aesthetic, a mirror to reality and a metaphor and that there is no clear way to disentangle the ‘thing’ from what it represents. In Finding the Sun Albee represents the inner worlds of four women from different age brackets who think that they may escape the reality of their isolation by indulging in the ‘woes’ of either unsatisfying, frustrated marriages, or in sublimating sexual desire by transforming it into an obsessive maternal relationship. The four women in this play (Abigail, Cordelia, Edmee and Gertrude) experience indifference from their partners (if we are to consider Fergus as the ‘partner’ of his mother Edmee). They each exude from within the fear of being left alone. It therefore makes sense that Albee would have two of his characters, Abigail and Cordelia, as married to gay husbands; both already know that their husbands will continue to lead homosexual lives, but still they cling to them in fear of leading a solitary life after divorce. Edmee’s story is different; she thinks that by sharing all the subtle details of her life with her son, she would protect him from the dangers of the outer world. But what she does not notice is that she is the one who needs solace, love and care after the sudden death of her husband and that her need to impose this advice on to her son is a simple form of transference and evasion. The fourth figure is the old Gertrude, who has outlived two of her husbands. When she marries her third husband, she hopes that she will be the one who leaves this world first. She fears death; she fears facing death alone. These are the women: our metaphors and ‘realities’; these are Albee’s abstractions and the source of his experiment with using ‘ordinary’ life to dramatize a philosophical view. The method is a conscious one; the reflexive method playful as well as dire.
The four women are shown to be yearning for companionship, solace and genuine passion. Their dread of solitude after separation leads them to indulge in unsatisfying male relations showing the infinite capacity of humans to avoid self scrutiny.
Women in solitude in Finding the Sun
The beach carries a traditional symbolic notion of the line between life and death. Albee chooses to locate his play in an outer coastal setting: a New England beach on a bright August day, for his dramatic experiment with the opposing themes of marriage and mortality.
The intertwined themes are presented through ‘a roundly about couples decoupling on a beach’ (Gussow 2001:329); three of them are married while the fourth couple is a widowed mother with her adolescent son. They are related by family ties and / or illicit romantic bonds. They are shown on the stage by an alphabetical order: Abigail (23) is married to Benjamin (30), who has been intimately involved with Daniel (37) for some time. The latter is married now to Cordelia (28). Then the third couple enters: Edmee, a stylish matron in her forties accompanied by her handsome son Fergus (16). The last couple is the oldest: Gertrude (60), Cordelia’s mother from a previous marriage, along with her current husband Henden (70), Daniel’s father from a previous marriage. The plot is set; all the requirements for entanglement are organized by Albee’s selection of age spans, relationships and inter relationships. This, we are being told, is not unlike anything an audience member would know in his/her life. The stage being set is one that is familiar and it is this familiarity that seemingly makes it stranger. The characters is representing different stages of life are indicative of the life-long journey and its reliance on
In depicting various ages, Albee intends to intensify the notion that, during the different stages of life, it is a human drive to relentlessly search for the sun; i.e. people are driven to find a purpose to life; not to align living with meaning designates them to ‘missing the boat, closing down too young, coming to the end of their lives with regret at things not done, as opposed to things done’ (Richardson 30).
In the introductory scene Albee, by a subtle change in a simple refrain, clarifies this canon. Abigail is the first to appear on the stage, saying ‘Find the sun’ (Albee, 2005:199). She is echoed by her husband Benjamin, then by Cordelia and Daniel. The young couple asserts the imperative, denoting the vital force of youth in seeking love and happiness. While Edmee, the instructive mother, uses the progressive form (‘Finding the sun, should always be your first action, Fergus’, Albee, 2005:199) to imply that his continuous searching for the sun is the ‘the source of all life’ (p.201). She envisages a promising life ahead for the adolescent boy, full with multiple choices. Finally, when the old couple Gertrude and her husband Henden arrive on stage, they use the past participle ‘Oh! Henden! We’ve found the sun’ (p.200) calling attention to their age and to the fact that they have already made their choices and found the sun. At this stage of their lives, finding the sun would consist of yearning for a shelter from loneliness and not dying in solitude.
The play focuses on the stories of the four women, from different ages and situations, who experience loneliness and solitude though they share their lives with their partners. Those women have chosen frustrated, unsatisfying marriages and motherhood as solutions that might offer solace, companionship and love or even a way to avoid dying alone. Despite that, they encounter either desolation or abandonment.
In order to express these themes, the play has almost no action; it has more of a mood, ‘a melancholic air’ (Gussow 2001:329) as it were, rather than a plot. Nevetheless, these twenty-two swiftly moving scenes can be seen from a retrospective viewpoint, for the play starts where the story of Benjamin and Daniel ends, i.e. their marriages to Abigail and Cordelia. Their story is considered as ‘the plot’s engine’ (Zinman 2008:107), where the other stories are related to some extent. The two young men have been emotionally connected and still have the same intimate affection towards each other, but they are prevented by society, in the form of Daniel’s father, from being together.
Abigail would like to believe that her husband has changed, and to prove to everybody around her, primarily to herself, that Benjamin has seen ‘the follies of his former ways’ (p.205) by her successful attempts at adjusting him to her world, far away from his previous gay relations. Nevertheless, she is suspicious and ever-vigilant, following him wherever he goes and never letting him out of her sight (ibid).
Nevertheless Abigail distrusts her husband:
You and your sidelong glances, Your letters you won’t let me read, Your odd phone calls, your feeble Excuses for getting home late…(p. 215)
She is obsessed with her inner knowledge that he has not responded to machinations. She periodically inquires about where he has been as she senses his distance from her. The idea of Benjamin’s absence gives her the feeling that he is cheating on her. When she encounters the adolescent and handsome Fergus, she warns him away from both Daniel and Benjamin:
Abigail: Stay away from Daniel; he’s dangerous. (Afterthought) For that matter, stay away from Benjamin, too. Fergus: But ..Why ? Abigail: You’re very young (p.221)
Accordingly, she is stunned to discover that Daniel and Cordelia are in New England at the same beach, for this means that the two young men will meet. Seeing them together ‘shows how tangential Abigail is to her husband’ (Clum, 72) and how superficially they are connected to each other.
Abigail’s feeling that she and Benjamin are only tangentially connected finds its source in their inauthentic union. They did not marry for love, nor did they know one another for long. In fact, Benjamin decided to marry ‘the first gullible girl he could find’ (p.230). The first gullible girl happens to be Abigail, who met Benjamin after the disastrous balloon explosion that caused her parents’ death. Left alone and longing for love and consolation to escape her loneliness and despair, Abigail decided to marry Benjamin despite being aware of his distant coolness and lack of affection towards her. Man and wife are together in a loveless marriage.
This is the source of Abigail’s dislike of Daniel and Cordelia; They remind her of her folly and her loss of Benjamin’s soul and body. The loathing is mutual. Daniel describes Abigail as ‘turning Benjamin into a shell – sucking him dry … she’s a self-obsessed, tedious bore of a woman’ (p. 205), whereas Cordelia places the responsibility of her divorce from Daniel on Abigail because she failed to keep Benjamin away from Daniel. Barbara Lee Horn notices that Abigail and Cordelia ‘share a dislike for one another, for obvious if complicated reasons, as much as their husband’s share an inextinguishable secret affection’ (Horn, 43). Daniel’s father, Henden, explains these complicated relationships to the inquisitive Fergus as ‘a complex twine’ (p.208).
The two wives handle differently the knowledge that their husbands are gay. Cordelia has accepted Daniel as he is and loves him all the same, while Abigail neither succeeds in changing her husband nor accepts his homosexuality as a fait accompli. Daniel is therefore more content with Cordelia than Benjamin with Abigail, and this knowledge causes Abigail considerable grief. What annoys her most is seeing her husband asking to be accepted as a new member in the other couple’s family.
Thus she is unable to keep Benjamin close to her either emotionally or physically; what she misses is not so much sex, but genuine communication. Both wives fail to maintain a deep relationship with their spouses, but Abigail now lives in an isolated world of loneliness and emotional desolation, consumed with frustration and jealousy. She is now at the verge of collapse for her inability to continue leading a self-deceptive life, hoping one day that Benjamin might change for her sake. Daniel G. Marowski asserts that:
Abigail longs for love and contentment yet, what she experiences is indifference and bareness of her marriage. She faces rejection, fear [of the future] and a sense of unbearable loneliness.
Albee plays here with the metaphorical concepts of ‘coldness’ and ‘warmth’: Leading a solitary emotional life gives Abigail the sense of coldness, for she is so far away from the warmth of physical and intimate contact of an affectionate understanding. John M. Clum describes their aloofness by the lack of real ‘physical expression of affection that gathers them’ (Clum, 72). That is why she is chilly most of the time despite the warmth of the climate. It is a kind of suffering that leads to an experience of inner dying, as she feels the wane of real love and passion around her. What deepens her sense of aloofness is Benjamin’s inability to extract from inside himself the real reason behind this coldness, which she relates to his remoteness. In their confrontational scene Abigail forces him to face up to the truth; he has not noticed how cold she is even when he holds her:
Yes ! You hold me ! But I hardly know it is you and who are you holding really ! And why do you want to hurt me in bed, and why are you walking away … [Benjamin goes] … and why I’m so cold all the time? (p. 238)
Her sadness has led her to think about suicide. In a moment of escape, a sea- escape, during her chat with Edmee, she reaches a solution that might bring peace to her restless soul. Mesmerized by the beauty of the scene along with the way that ‘the sound of the waves lapping on the shore pales to [Abigail’s] broken heart’ (Torrence,18), she imagines how wonderful it would be to ‘be able to walk into [water] – walk down the grade, enter, emerge, walk about, reverse and march right back to [the] starting point, all erect, all gliding ‘(Ibid). She decides that it would be the suitable way to end her marriage by ending her life. In his essay ‘The Process of Dying in the Plays of Edward Albee’, Nelvin Vos asserts that:
The failure of love is a form of dying, we love to be loved and when it is taken away why not rage or even think about suicide. To face the possibility of nothingness [after death] rather than to live without love and subsequently overwhelmed by solitude (Vos 18).
Abigail has struggled to ignore and hide the reality of Benjamin’s indifference for so long, but now she sees that the illusions of [her marital] life are unmasked- a fact that is so bright like the blazing sun of this summer’s day, and to which Abigail turns to address desperately:
[Abigail raises her hand to the sun, slow, quiet intensity now] why don’t you just … go out? Burn out? Flare up? Sizzle, crackle for a moment, and then … just fade … bring the ice down to all of us? I’m ready; I’m cold enough. Go out! I dare you! (p.238).
Realizing that she is talking to the sun blankly, Abigail takes her towel and exits unnoticed as she intends to exit from Benjamin ‘s life forever. Whether it is ‘too much fate [or] too much irony’ (p. 240) that Abigail is married to ‘a fairy’ this will not change her resolution to put an end to her suffering. Just as Cordelia says to her, a leopard ‘does not change its spots’ (p.206), Daniel and Benjamin are the leopards that cannot change their nature as gay men. Benjamin is unable to continue to lead this frustrated life with Abigail. Eventually, when Abigail’s attempt to drown herself is revealed, her husband refuses to go to see her. Remaining in his place between Cordelia and Daniel, Benjamin cries for the comfort of a physical embrace: ‘Hold me?! Someone ?!’ (p.248). Ironically, it is Cordelia who holds him.
In fact Cordelia sympathizes with Benjamin as she does with her husband. The two young men are unable to change their nature. Albee’s program notes read, ‘the author believes the play examines how we are startled with the inevitable’, which has been Cordelia ‘s feeling during her three-year marriage; she feels the inevitability of her husband’s homosexual nature, his ‘specialness and disgrace’ (p. 235), as Daniel says to Henden.
Cordelia has a clear sense of this ‘specialness and disgrace’; she knows the limits of her marriage. She expected, early, that their marriage would not stop Daniel from living according to his nature. When she and Abigail discusses their marriages to gay men, she says,
Cordelia: I know them both as well as you know Benjamin – better Probably. Recall I knew them before you, and they were lovers then. Abigail: (Too bright) well, they’re not lovers now! Cordelia: Because they married us, you mean? Remember the leopard … A leopard doesn’t change its spots. (p. 205)
During her marriage, Cordelia cleverly senses that her husband continues to lead a gay life; ‘I’ve got a very roomy heart ‘ (p. 213), he says to her. This fact, apparently, does not annoy Cordelia too much. In her monologue she clarifies that if she succeeds in turning Daniel ‘straight’, he will have other relations but with women. She is more content with the idea that she is the only woman in his life:
I like being his women. I mean, if I turn him straight, then he’ll start in with girls. This way’s better. As long as he is careful (p.225).
Cordelia understands the limitations of her marriage. She and Daniel have reached ‘an arrangement – by which is usually implied a moral quagmire’ (p.205), as Abigail puts it. Though Daniel may not be adjusting to her world, it seems that it is the point from where their mutual understanding springs. This compromise leads to a strong friendship. Cordelia likes the fact that ‘Daniel is more interested in our friendship than our marriage’ (p.226), so that if one day Daniel realizes that he has committed the wrong thing by indulging himself in a heterosexual marriage, he and Cordelia would still be good friends.
Cordelia manages to establish a ‘rational basis’ (Ben-Zvi, 190) for her marriage because she loves Daniel truly. She has met him after a failed experience of marriage with ‘a joke, on his way to nowhere as it is turned out’ (Ibid), she says. She has been lonely and depressed, in a desperate need for companionship when she met the ‘handsome, bright, considerate, tender [and] patient’ (Ibid) Daniel who manages to ‘cheer [her] up’ (Ibid). He brought back her self-confidence, and offered solace and a new love-friendship. Though her marriage seems more rational than that of Abigail , still she has her own frustrations and dissatisfactions; Daniel says to his father that ‘Cordelia is turning tough and brittle at the same time and is beginning to drink just a little too much’ (p. 235). With the help of alcohol Cordelia tries to keep herself strong enough to preserve her marriage to a gay man. What tires her most is seeing Benjamin with his wife Abigail, who seems unable to keep her husband away from Daniel. This matter would draw the two young men closer and subsequently she might ask for divorce ‘The two of you are so close now as you ever were – which I will probably divorce you for one day – and I’m probably taking that out on poor Abigail’ (p.212), Cordelia says to her husband Daniel. Convinced that she will be unable to keep the men apart, she admits Benjamin into her family ‘as a surrogate child and /or lover’ (Ben-Zvi, 191). John M. Clum asserts that ‘…the trio of Daniel-Cordelia- Benjamin is the ideal solution to their desire to be connected and their inability to love by the morals and social imperatives of marriage’ (Clum, 72) .
When Cordelia approves Benjamin’s inclusion in her family the stage direction reads ‘the sun goes behind a cloud, the sky becomes gray’ (p.241) and ‘when the sky darkens so does the psychic despair shading the coastal scene’ (Wolf, 32). The stage directions reflect Cordelia’s melancholic prediction that the relationship which gathers the three of them together will end with the two young men alone. She knows she will just ‘bow out … I will … certainly bow out’ (p.224). She will go back to her desolation before meeting Daniel.
Her mother, Gertrude, had warned her. Gertrude’s cousin had been married to a gay man, and they had to move from town to town because of the scandals. Gertrude warns her daughter,
Why are you marrying that person? I warn you, young woman, you’re in for a lot of woe … I warn you: they do not change; you’ll find out Mark my words! (p.225)
While Gertrude sees her daughter struggling for happiness, she senses the others’ entrapment; she says to Edmee: ‘they [Abigail, Benjamin, Cordelia and Daniel] travel in a pack, they are not happy’ (p.239). The young people have been a source of worry and tedium to the old ones, ‘they worry, and bother us’ (p.240), she says. But Gertrude has given up trying to solve this complicated interrelationship.
Gertrude does not only have a keen insight about her daughter’s marriage, but she also has an interesting view about marriage in general. Gertrude, 60 years old, has been married twice before her current husband, Henden. She was married to older men whom she has lost ‘not through carelessness but time’ (p.203), as she says to Edmee. Gertrude has outlived them and she will outlive Henden, too. She has reached the conviction that marriage, that is, companionship, is the only solution to facing death: she has had four skin cancers successfully removed. They were ‘all from the sun, and I still won’t stay out of it’ (Ibid).
Marriage for Gertrude is a comforting experience meant to lessen her sense of loneliness or the fear of dying alone. Like many of us, Gertrude fears death, and it is for this reason that she is afraid of the many ‘sleepetts’ that overcome her periodically. For she considers them as primal signs of the eternal sleep; i.e. death: ‘I doze, I slip off into sleepetts. Is it tiny strokes, I wonder – the sleepetts?’ (p.239). Hence, Gertrude is a sleepless creature, she keeps awake most nights: ‘I’m familiar with the dawn as any farmer, the night as any watchman’ (Ibid).
Thus Gertrude is content with what her marriage offers her, for she expects so little of it. Simply enough she is facing death by marriage as long as it is ‘a custom, socially ingrained and unquestionable’ (Wheatley, 267) that provides solace from her desolation. Linda Ben-Zvi sees that old people like Gertrude and Henden would cling to their marriages, for it is ‘enough, as much as it offers though so little’ (Ben-Zvi, 192). Nevertheless, marriage does not lessen her sense of isolation and loneliness. Her husband, Henden, in a monologue, says,
When you reach my age you … well you get frightened sometimes. Because you’re alone … wife? children? grandchildren? Yes, certainly if you’re lucky but you’re still … alone [Taps his head]. Nobody gets in there with you! (p.215)
These wards echo the Albeesque élan that man is basically alone. In the biography that Mel Gussow has written (Edward Albee: A Singular Journey), Albee says, ‘life is a solo journey that one is making through a wonderful consciousness towards the end of [this] consciousness … and that the older you get, the more solo you become’ (Gussow,16).
All the previous figures of women (Abigail, Cordelia and Gertrude ) are fighting against this desolation by frustrated love or enchanted friendship or mere blank companionship. The same canon is applied to ‘Edmee’ i, though from a different perspective.
Edmee is a controversial woman, a ‘literally sophisticated’ (Torrance, 20) matron who takes excessive care of her son, indulging herself in the role of the instructive mother. She has reached her ‘modus vivendi’ (Wolf, 33) that ‘we have so much to be thankful for, being alive. Being alive !’ (p. p.236). She chooses to live her life fully, leading a free life out of the borders of marriage, after the sudden death of her husband; she has shared her bed with ‘a variety of men and one lady’ (p.240), even though the primary relationship that she experiencing is a complex relation with her adolescent son, ‘Fergus’. ii
Edmee admits that what unites her with Fergus is ‘an attachment [that] transcends the usual, the socially admitted usual’ (p.214). She would like to believe that the Oedipal feelings are controlling his mind, not hers: ‘Fergus would bed me in a moment’ (Ibid), she says to Gertrude. It is Edmee’s ‘unacknowledged sexual fixation’ (Zinman, 109) about her son that gives the impression of a perverted mother-son relation. Her answers to Gertrude’s questions about the handsome son are conspicuous enough to make any stranger curious:
Gertrude: What is he to you? Well, what is he to you? … – the young boy: Is he your nephew, your ward, your … lover? … Edmee: What he is to me? He is too much … he has been The ‘man’ in my life (pp. 203-213).
What is more interesting about Edmee’s concern for her son is her shallow fears that this beautiful and bright adolescent would turn out to be a ‘tarnish’ (p. 233). Edmee’s ludicrous worry about her son’s future is shown through a superficial concern for the loss of his good looks. Toby Zinman sees that: most mothers worry about their children’s health and happiness, about them finding love and doing worthy work, not about them growing paunchy and becoming old.
Her fears are circled around his turning out ‘to be less than he promises. I do not want to be around when his hair recedes or his body starts its way to fat’ (p. 232). She is a possessive creature hiding behind the mask of ‘awarding mother’ (Brantley, 21). Fergus has already heard and sensed his mother’s shallow worries; after Scene 16 the adolescent boy disappears. He does not appear again in the play.
So many interpretations have been formulated around Fergus’ disappearance. Did he die suddenly like his father? Or did he commit suicide, even though in his monologue he says that he has no intention to kill himself. Or has he ‘disappeared symbolically into maturity’ (Clum, 73), saving his mother from all her fears, real or superficial, even though at the same time she is left with loneliness and desolation. Fergus chooses to separate himself from this obsessive attachment and leaves his mother with the tormenting doubt about whether her son is alive or dead.
Actually, sudden death is a clear possibility in this play. Fergus’ father’s fatal accident, when he ‘dove off the rocks – showing off, as usual – hit some jutting something underwater wasn’t supposed to be there, broke his neck, drowned’ (p.213), as Edmee says to Gertrude. Abigail’s parents also faced a sudden death as they were going ballooning, when ‘a boy genius, building his own rocket – sets the thing off … and it goes right through the bag of the balloon, and the bag deflates and down, like a shot’ (p.223). And Henden’s first wife, who died after forty-six years of marriage, ‘took it into her head to die … a brain tumor’ (p. 207). At the end of the play Henden also dies; perhaps because of the stress of age, he just ‘passes into the eternal sleep’ (Wolf, 76).
At the end of the play, when the sun goes behind the clouds, leaving the beach in a desolate coastal grey, the five remaining characters cry for the loss of those they love, ‘realizing that they are ultimately inconsolable and alone’ (Clum, 73). Gertrude cries for her late husband, Henden; Edmee cries for her son Fergus; Daniel cries for God as he discovers the death of his father, ‘the dearest man’ (p.235), while Benjamin cries for Daniel and for the comfort of a physical embrace. Clearly enough, each one needs this attachment, for it constitutes an assurance that they are not alone, and that one’s pain is not felt in isolation.
They all cry for the loss of spouses, son, lover, father, familial ties; but no one cries for the poor Abigail who survives her suicide attempt ;she at least finishes her malfunctioning marriage. In a sense she emerges as the only one who is able to choose authenticity. Albee may not be arguing that there is an ultimate relationship that one can find but he does embody in this character a view that a relentless seeking for it is preferable to comforting compromise.
Marriage is supposed to be a solution for spiritual and physical needs, but these lonely women remain alone; they fail to find in unsatisfactory marriages or possessive motherhood any offer of emotional, sexual or spiritual union. Instead, they are offered discontent and disappointment.
Albee’s metaphors of the sun, warmth and coldness are played out in literal manifestations of the same. One may seek meaning under the sun and may seek to avoid the ‘chill’ in the lie of ‘connectiveness’. It seems, however, that the journey of life, in this play, is one in which the human being is at the mercy of his and her futile striving. Some of the characters fare better than others but all, in the end, recognize that answers to life’s meaninglessness are fleeting and unsustainable.
Albee, Edward (2005). The Collected Plays of Edward Albee, vol. 3 (New York: Peter Mayer Publisher, Inc.).
Ben-Zvi, Linda (1989). “review of ‘Finding The Sun’”, in Daniel G. Marowski and Roger Matuz, (eds), Contemporary Literary Criticism(Michigan: Gale Research Inc).
Ben-Zvi, Linda (2005). “Playing the cloud circuit: Albee’s vaudeville show”, in Stephen Bottoms, The Cambridge Companion to Edward Albee(Cambridge : Cambridge University Press).
Clum. M. John (2005). “Withered age and stale custom: Marriage, diminution, and sex in Tiny Alice, A Delicate Balance, and Finding the Sun”, in Stephen Bottoms, The Cambridge Companion to Edward Albee (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Gussow, Mel (2001). Edward Albee: A Singular Journey (New York: Simon & Schuster).
Horn, Lee Barbara (2003). Edward Albee: A Research and Production Sourcebook (Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.).
Johnson, Carolyn E. (1968). “In Defense of Albee”, The English Journal vol. 57, No.1, January 1968 (London: National Council of Teachers of English).
Richard, David (1991). “An Interview with Edward Albee”, New York Times vol. 4, No. 3 June.
Roudane, Mathew C. (2000). “Edward Albee” in American Playwrights Since 1945: A Guide to Scholarship, Criticism, and Performance (Westport, Conn. Greenwood Press).
Torrance, James S (1991). “Albee is Back”, America vol. 19, No21, May 1991.
Wheatley, J, Christopher (2003). Twentieth-Century American Dramatists (Detroit: The Gale Group, Inc.).
Wolf, Matt (2001). ‘Marriage Play / Finding The Sun”, Variety, vol. 24,No.11, June. 2001.
Vos, Nelvin (1973). “The Process of Dying in the Plays of Edward Albee”, Educational Theater Journal Vol,11, No.34, April 1973.
Zinman, Toby (2008). Edward Albee (Michigan: Michigan University Press).
(i.) Edmee’s enigmatic name recalls the doubling of the nickname of the playwright Edward : Ed and the reflexive naracisstic me: Ed+ me[e], though it leads to nothing.
(i.) In more than one play Albee has reflected his own mal childhood and the hard familial situations he went through. As a child he had a bitter sweet childhood with a very wealthy family who provided him with all luxuries of life save true love and real affection or even attention. One may consider the enigmatic children who haunt his plays. They either vanish, like Fergus inFinding The Sun, or a mute one like that in Three Tall Women, or betrayed by parents like Billy in The Goat, or Who’s Sylvia?, or stolen like the mysterious baby in The Play About the Baby, or even an illusionary like the famous one in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?