2 Scene Summaries: Scene 1 In Marie’s house. (SETTING)Marie is trying to do laundry, Nora is helping.Shootings occur outside.The women talk about going out that evening to the club.We learn that Marie is a widow.Deirdre arrives giving information about what is going on outside.She steals Marie’s clothes and Cassie’s money from behind Michael’s picture.
3 Initial Stage Directions Create a positive impression of Marie’s house by making it seem homely and welcoming.‘Toys which are new and gleaming’ contrasts ‘furniture that’s bald with age.’ This immediately establishes Marie as a caring character who makes sacrifices to provide for her children.Idea of Marie being a motherly figure is continued with the idea that there is a ‘kettle always hot for tea.’
4 Contrast With OutsideImmediately, there is a contrast between Deirdre and Marie. She describes the world outside the house and her repetition of the word ‘grey’ is significant. She is thus associated with darkness.This darkness invades Marie’s home when she answers Deirdre’s ‘thunderous knocking.’
5 Task Look at page 89 of your text. Complete the chart in order to have a detailed record of your first impressions of Deirdre.
6 First Impressions of Marie What do we learn about Marie from her decision to display a picture of Michael so prominently?
7 Marie and MichaelMarie tells her son that his father was a ‘good man and a brave man’ and tells Cassie: ‘I know, I know he was no saint- but I miss him.’ What does this tell us about Marie’s relationship with Michael?
8 Key QuotationCopy the following quotation: ‘I think she could try a wee smile on for size now and then don’t you? Sure he was hardly here when he was alive.’ How do the words of Cassie suggest a different impression of Michael from the words of Marie?
9 The Wedding DayBefore getting married, Marie was aware of the drab world outside her home which Deirdre has introduced. She describes her wedding day as ‘wet and grey.’Domestic bliss removed her from this reality and into the homely and detached world she now inhabits.After her wedding ‘the rain stopped’ and she feels there will never ‘be bad times again’
10 Cassie and Nora‘I fell out with my mother on the delivery room floor’ (Cassie)Find three pieces of evidence which suggest that Cassie and Nora have a poor relationship. Consider:- How they respond to the male contestant on ‘Blind Date.’Their opinions of Cassie’s father.What Nora says about Cassie’s ‘heart’ and ‘tongue.’
11 Cassie and her FatherThroughout this scene we are introduced to Cassie’s close relationship with her father.She defends him against the accusations of Nora that ‘he had a temper’ by saying that he only reacted when provoked.Her long monologue tells us she sees no faults in her father who she says was ‘a lovely man.’Cassie’s admiration for her father is an interesting parallel to Marie’s admiration for Michael which will be developed in the play.