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The Making of Susan

Toward the end of the play, her mood unusually subdued, the younger Susan describes a moment of lying in the grass watching her son play with a friend in the park. She has divorced her husband. She is living in New York and supporting herself and her son with teaching jobs. She is working on her first novel.

I am waiting for David to grow up, the way I waited to get through school and grow up. Only it’s my life that will pass! The three sentences I’ve served: my childhood, my marriage, my child’s childhood.

She did not exactly do things in the right order after all, or so it must have seemed at that moment in 1962 (she describes feeling other ways at other times). But that is precisely what gives shape to this account of her first thirty years. The end feels like an ending because she has slipped the marriage and arranged her life so that she can write while raising her child instead of “waiting” for him to grow up. Most of the work of writing is still ahead of her, but—the play suggests—she has already done the heaviest lifting, and we in the audience can pay tribute to her self-creation.

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