- Play title: ’night, Mother
- Author: Marsha Norman
- Published: 1983
- Page count: 89
Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, ’night, Mother, was published in 1983. The work consists of a single scene between a middle-aged daughter named Jessie and her mother named Thelma. Norman sets her drama in an isolated house way out in the American countryside. Jessie is a highly introverted individual and even though she married and has an adult son, she has now returned to live with her mother after the breakup of her marriage. Thelma is a chatty, upbeat woman who takes life as it comes. The two women live in what seems like placid domesticity until one evening when Jessie reveals her grave unhappiness. The play looks at two lives that are so intertwined that there seems no space for secrets or surprises and yet they exist. The playwright depicts an uncomfortable and emotive conversation between the two women. The theme of the play is the loss of hope.
Ways to access the text: reading.
’Night, Mother is available to read via the Open Library. Members of Scribd can also access a text of the play.
There are full length recordings of theatrical performances of the play available on YouTube. There is also a movie version from 1986 entitled ’night, Mother. However, I have not viewed any of these so I cannot comment on them.
Why read ’night, Mother?
Talking about suicide.
In ’night, Mother, Jessie has had a long held intention to commit suicide and she finally reveals this to her mother. Even though this is announced quite early in the play, it still seems like a spoiler to share it with potential readers. However, the entire play revolves around the topic of suicide as Jessie delves into the hurt arising from her childhood, broken marriage, wayward son, epilepsy, and very restricted and lonely life. One’s focus is not only that Jessie suffers from suicidal ideation but also her surprising move to share the details with her mother. Suicide is often conveniently wrapped in a narrative that no one expected it from the individual concerned but Marsha Normal shatters that narrative. Jessie states clearly – “I’m going to kill myself, Mama” (13) and the rest of the play explores the reason, if any, for such a revelation especially if that suicide will go ahead at some point in the future. It would be difficult to classify the play as a depiction of a young woman’s cry for help, nor is the play a straightforward justification for suicide. ‘Night, Mother explores the gut wrenching discomfort of a daughter telling her mother that she wants to die.
Norman depicts two women from different generations but who have equally small lives. Jessie, for example, almost never leaves the house, has no friends, never takes holidays, and only found a husband due to her mother’s influence. Thelma likes doing needlework and watching television. What value do such lives hold? This question is not for an outsider to answer but for the individuals themselves. Is eating candy and watching television, like Thelma, a way of life? Apparently yes, but Jessie is different. The play shows how some people with small, restricted lives may become far more vulnerable to despair. The limited geographical space of the home, the restrictiveness of one’s daily routine, the expectations of one’s family – all of these pressures may negatively shape a life into something stifled.
‘Unravelling the hopeless life of Jessie Cates.’
In ’night, Mother, Marsha Norman describes how the life of middle-aged Jessie Cates has become hopeless. Norman’s play is not based on a specific, real-life incidence of suicide but the playwright does open a valuable and complex discussion about the topic. What is often thought to be imponderable, namely why someone would end their own life, is the central discussion. The playwright’s work is a rebuttal to the often heard refrain of – ‘no one understands why they did it’. As readers or audience members, we witness the discussion between Jessie and her mother Thelma and during their interaction all doubt as to why suicide is the answer for Jessie is finally removed. The play is discomfiting because it confronts a topic that most people feel more comfortable ignoring or pleading ignorance to. People commit suicide for specific reasons and these reasons are not exclusively psychiatric illnesses. Life is full of impediments and challenges which are not always surmountable. Norman validates Jessie’s choice which upsets some readers and critics alike due to the emotive nature of any discussion about suicide. Interpretations of ’night, Mother, range from steadfast support for Norman’s depiction of a woman liberated from an unbearable existence to virulent opposition to the playwright’s apparent message that suicide is justifiable. I find that I fall midway between these poles of opinion, agreeing that Jessie makes the right choice but also seeking a fuller explanation for why, an explanation that pushes ’night, Mother to reveal where blame lies. Suicides happen for specific reasons and since Norman expertly opens this discussion, it is valuable to interrogate her play to find out who, or what, is to blame. After all, blame is often what is feared the most in the wake of a suicide.
Norman not only provides readers with an engaging depiction of Jessie in the play but she also gave invaluable insights into her work in interviews. For example, in 1987 Norman spoke to Kathleen Betsko and Rachel Koenig for their book, Interviews with Contemporary Women Playwrights. Norman said the following about ’night, Mother:
My sense of ‘night, Mother is that it is, by my own definitions of these words, a play of nearly total triumph. Jessie is able to get what she feels she needs. That is not a despairing act. It may look despairing from the outside, but it has cost her everything she has. If Jessie says it’s worth it, then it is” (Betsko and Koenig 339).
Norman’s stance did not find favour with some critics. For example, Sarah Reuning writes that “Marsha Norman describes her drama ‘night, Mother (1983) as ‘a play of nearly total triumph’– controversial words for a work in which the main character, a divorced epileptic, commits suicide” (55). Reuning’s perspective is clear when she writes, “I insist we understand depression in its medical context, for in so doing, we discover that Jessie’s suicide must be a relinquishing, rather than a regaining, of control” (55). It is a valid point that Jessie’s apparent depression is central to her decision but one may still disagree with Reuning’s view that suicide does not offer control to Jessie. Reuning writes – “I argue that despite Norman’s efforts to portray Jessie as a logical individual, Jessie’s thinking and behavior demonstrate a mental disability” (55). The crux of the disagreement here is if Jessie is competent to make her own decisions with Norman giving an affirmative answer and Reuning countering with a negative response. Norman’s stance directs one to look at what Jessie is being released from, whereas Reuning lays focus on the act of suicide as an incorrect choice. Taking Norman’s side, I would like to look at Jessie’s life as depicted in the play and pinpoint one turn, one decision, one problem, that above all others, leads to Jessie’s final decision to kill herself. The aim here is to eschew the shrouding of suicide in mystery routinely achieved by the refrain of ‘nobody knows why’ and grasp instead the nettle and say look, here it is, this is a solid, visible reason.
The key question in ’night Mother is why Jessie commits suicide. When Jessie is preparing her mother for the future, she says, “somebody’s bound to ask you why I did it and you just say you don’t know” (Norman 71). It is common for the family and friends of suicide victims to state that they didn’t see any warning signs and that the deaths of their loved ones remain unfathomable. Marsha Norman challenges this norm by opening a discussion in the play. Jessie tells her mother that the reasons for her planned suicide are because, “I’m tired. I’m hurt. I’m sad. I feel used” (28). When Thelma suggests that the real reason for Jessie’s planned suicide is epilepsy then Jessie refutes this, saying, “It’s not the fits, Mama … you said it yourself, the medication takes care of the fits” (68). However, epilepsy is precisely the topic that readers of Norman’s play should focus upon. In ’night, Mother, the reason for Jessie’s suicide is not solely epilepsy but it is certainly the most compelling one. Much research has been done in recent years on epilepsy and one may readily consult academic essays on the topic such as “Epilepsy and Suicidality: What’s the Relationship?” and “Suicidal Ideation and Thoughts of Death in Epilepsy Patients.” Modern research on epilepsy allows one to nuance the old interpretations of Norman’s play. Even though Jessie’s marriage has failed, her son engages in criminality, and she is quite isolated, it is her illness that seems most relevant to her decision about ending her life.
Recent studies show that an epileptic like Jessie Cates is in a high risk category. According to Andrijić et al., “Suicide is an important cause of death in patients with epilepsy” (52) which is backed up by the statistic that “Suicide is present as a cause of death in 11% of patients with epilepsy which is significantly more than the rate of suicide in the general population of the USA” (52). In a study of 50 epilepsy patients, Andrijić et al. found that “depression is present in 52% of patients with epilepsy” (55). In “Epilepsy and Suicidality: What’s the Relationship?”, Alison Pack informs us that “People with epilepsy have a 5-fold increased risk of suicide” (236). Such studies allow a reader of ’night, Mother to hold an objective distance from Jessie’s emotive reasoning for her planned suicide and her denial that it has anything to do with her illness. Quite contrary to Jessie’s proclamation, one may indeed follow Thelma Cates’ intuition that her daughter’s illness is what has precipitated the suicidal ideation.
One may chart the repercussions of epilepsy in Jessie’s life from the evidence in Norman’s play. Points of interest are medication, stigmatization, duration of illness, heredity, and employability. The aim is not to dismiss the other contributing factors to Jessie’s suicide, for example her broken marriage, but to investigate the most influential reason for her decision to end her life.
When we first meet Jessie then her epilepsy is already well under control. Her mother reassures her that “You haven’t had a seizure for a solid year” (Norman 66) and Jessie responds, “Yeah, the phenobarb’s about right now” (66). Jessie refers here to a well-known medication called “Phenobarbital (phenobarbitone) [that] was first used as an antiepileptic drug 100 years ago, in 1912” (Yasiry and Shorvon 26). There are side-effects to using this medication, for example, even as early as “the 1920s, phenobarbital was recognized to cause sedation, but remarkably, it was better known, universally, for ‘clearing the mentality’” (Yasiry and Shorvon 29). Jessie attests to this latter benefit when she says, “The best part is, my memory’s back” (Norman 67). Another benefit for Jessie is that she has a lot more freedom due to the medication – “I’m even feeling like worrying or getting mad and I’m not afraid it will start a fit if I do, I just go ahead” (66). This remark is significant because one understands the level of emotional restriction Jessie grappled with before her diagnosis and subsequent treatment with medication. Therefore, while the medication has transformed Jessie’s current life, there is also a lot of unspoken history. A young woman who has spent most of her life avoiding strong emotions and challenging situations has an inbuilt propensity to deal with the world as one in constant fear. The medication facilitates Jessie’s painful and emotive conversation with her mother on the night depicted in the play, but unfortunately it is not a beginning but rather an ending. Jessie’s emotional openness is not what it should be, which is the commencement of a healing process. The newly found freedom has come too late.
Illness and stigmatization often go hand in hand. In ‘Night, Mother, Jessie rejects the idea that her illness defines her. She tells her mother “It’s just a sickness, not a curse. Epilepsy doesn’t mean anything. It just is” (71). Is Jessie simply rebelling against the negative connotations of epilepsy or does she believe her words? Norman depicts how an ill daughter is invariably defined by her illness, most especially when things go wrong. For example, when Jessie begins to discuss suicide with her mother, then Thelma instinctively responds, “It must be time for your medicine” (13). The covert message of Thelma’s words is that Jessie is not fully competent. The tags of incompetence and illness serve to rob Jessie’s words of their meaning. Illness is not just a weakening of one’s body and a strain on the mind, but also a slur that may be used against one by others during times of conflict. Furthermore, Thelma confides in Jessie that their neighbour, Agnes, does not like visiting the house because of a superstitious belief regarding Jessie’s cold hands which are “like a corpse” (42). Sarah Reuning writes that “In ‘night, Mother, Jessie’s epileptic body embodies society’s fears concerning death, and the resulting ostracization Jessie faces increases her depression” (60). What is discomfiting for a reader, because it further complicates the story, is that “The epilepsy community is increasingly aware of the high percentages of psychiatric disorders among persons with epilepsy” (Pack 236). This means that Thelma Cates is correct to question her daughter’s competence when she speaks about suicide, yet this mother has also undermined her daughter for many years by stigmatizing a common and treatable illness. The situation is a form of catch-22. Thelma chose not to tell her daughter of her childhood fits because, in Thelma’s words, “make you feel like a freak, is that what I should have done?” (Norman 71). When Jessie finally gets a diagnosis then most of the harm has already been done in regard to Jessie’s self-image. Jessie attempts to disown the stigma, yet others persist in reapplying it to her.
Timeframe – duration of illness
Marsha Norman presents her readers/audience with an interesting timeframe in her play. The timeframe in question relates to Jessie’s epilepsy, when it was first diagnosed and medicated, and also to Jessie’s associated depression. Jessie says she has planned her suicide for some time with the specific marker of, “after Christmas, after I decided to do this” (77). Reuning’s close reading of the play uncovered clues that suggest “that ‘night, Mother takes place in autumn. Thus, Jessie has contemplated suicide continuously for at least eight months” (57). The timescale of Jessie’s depression has apparently been for much longer because as she says, “If Dawson comes over, it’ll make me feel stupid for not doing it [suicide] ten years ago” (Norman 17). One could argue that this is the comment of a depressed person in a gloomy, retrospective mood but it is nonetheless an unignorable indication of a depression that long predates her diagnosis of epilepsy. Jessie’s epilepsy was only diagnosed after she fell from a horse and her husband suggested she seek medical advice. We cannot date the horse riding accident but we know that Jessie’s medication, after some adjustments, has worked well for a year now. The contrast is a diagnosis in the previous, let’s say 1.5 years, versus a depression of up to 10 years. Thelma had failed to tell her daughter that the epileptic fits actually began when Jessie was five years old. When Thelma admits this then Jessie responds – “Well, you took your time telling me” (69). The timeframe is crucial since Jessie could not live a full life before she started taking her medication. Jessie’s depression can be seen as inextricably linked to the quality of life that was possible for her in the intervening years.
Timeframe – heredity.
One may also look at the timeframe in regard to the biological inheritance within a family. Alison Pack writes that “Suicide attempts and recurrent suicide attempts are associated with epilepsy even before epilepsy manifests, suggesting a common underlying biology” (236). This information suggests a vulnerability in epileptic persons based on biology and therefore totally separate from quality of life issues. The same author goes on to state that “These [research] results suggest that the biological or genetic makeup (or both) of persons who are diagnosed with epilepsy also puts them at risk for suicidality” (Pack 237). Thelma admits to Jessie, “I think your daddy had fits, too” (Norman 62) and modern research supports hereditary/genetic elements to epilepsy. Thelma witnessed the detrimental, long-term effects of un-treated epilepsy in her husband but she still denied her daughter the benefit of an early diagnosis and suitable medication.
Upon analysis of the timeframes outlined in the play, one sees that Jessie was vulnerable on two wholly separate fronts, the biological side, and the quality of life side. Only via a diagnosis of epilepsy could such issues begin to be confronted. The different timeframes that Norman recounts literally frame the crushing and prolonged powerlessness and depression that Jessie suffered before being treated for epilepsy.
Employability is a major concern for people with epilepsy. Jessie Cates does not have a job and experience has shown that she cannot hold down a job. The topic of work is raised when Jessie admits her unhappiness to her mother who responds with the idea of getting a job. Jessie recalls a “telephone sales job” (35) that did not work out. Jessie’s experience of working and her potential to re-join the workforce is expressed in quite pessimistic terms. She says:
“I tried to work at the gift shop at the hospital and they said I made people real uncomfortable smiling at them the way I did. … The kind of job I could get would make me feel worse” (Norman 35).
In a study conducted by Andrijić et al., it was “shown that suicidal ideation in epilepsy patients is independently and significantly related to the level of hopelessness (BHS score) and unemployment as an important psychosocial factor” (55). Jessie was previously unable to cope with the outside world because she had always been so isolated and protected at home, due to illness. Jessie’s new status as seizure-free, thanks to her medication, does not impact on her pessimistic world view. A job would mean independence for Jessie both financially and socially but her lifestyle up to now has not prepared her for a job outside the home. Without the prospect of a job, and without hope, Jessie is shown to be in a particularly vulnerable position but one which is not unusual for sufferers of epilepsy.
The sum total of the repercussions of Jessie’s epilepsy may be seen as creating a sense of hopelessness. Amy Wenzel and Megan Spokas write that “Hopelessness, or negative expectations for the future, is the cognitive variable most extensively studied by suicidologists” (236). The authors go on to write that “Hopelessness is a more potent variable than depression in accounting for suicidal behavior, and it explains the association between a number of established risk factors and suicidal behavior” (237). Sarah Reuning’s article on ‘night, Mother, presents a very compelling case for diagnosing Jessie as depressed. Unfortunately, such a diagnosis brings its own stigma and impels a reader of Norman’s play to doubt Jessie’s competency to make any informed decision. On the other hand, if one looks at hopelessness and its links to suicide then Jessie’s plight becomes more relatable and her decisions more lucid. There are many theories as to why individuals commit suicide, one is called the “Cry of Pain model” (Wenzel and Spokas 247). This specific model helps explain Jessie’s actions in ’night, Mother. We learn that “According to the CoP model, there is an increased likelihood of suicidal behavior when people experience stressful or negative life events associated with four psychological characteristics” (Wenzel and Spokas 247). These characteristics are as follows:
“The individual experiences a sense of defeat and loss.”
“The individual cannot escape the situation … views himself or herself as trapped.”
“The person has little hope for rescue.”
“The perception of entrapment induces learned helplessness, which promotes beliefs that the person will not be able to change his or her life experiences” (Wenzel and Spokas 247).
In contrast to a more traditional view of a person seeking attention through self-harm, “The ‘cry’ is the suicidal act in which the person engages as a reaction to his or her painful life circumstances and psychological state” (Wenzel and Spokas 247). In Norman’s play, Jessie is reacting to her circumstances and she clearly states that she feels that nothing will change in the future. The following quotes sum up Jessie’s perspective on life.
“I’m just not having a very good time and I don’t have any reason to think it’ll get anything but worse” (Norman 28).
“And I can’t do anything either, about my life, to change it, make it better, make me feel better about it. Like it better, make it work. But I can stop it. Shut it down, turn it off like the radio when there’s nothing on I want to listen to” (Norman 36).
If one had to name a single issue that has always affected Jessie and that acts as a foundation to most of her problems in adult life, then it is epilepsy. To follow the Cry of Pain model, Jessie has a sense of defeat and loss (loss of independence, job loss, husband loss, problem son), she is trapped (living with her mother), she has no hope of rescue (no career, no romantic partner, no social life), and finally, she has learned helplessness because her mother chose to infantilize her rather than tell her the truth. Jessie responds to this situation with suicide as the chosen solution. However, Marsha Norman does not present her audience with the story of an epileptic who commits suicide, she presents us with epilepsy at the centre of Jessie’s life and how the world reacts to Jessie’s illness, how Jessie reacts to her illness, and the tangle upon tangle that results over time.
Suicide is a serious risk factor for those with epilepsy but never a fate. Something else is depicted in Norman’s play, a wrong turn at some stage that we may glimpse. When Norman spoke with Betsko and Koenig about her work, she made a general observation, saying, “I’m also interested in the issue of protection, that, in fact, it’s not possible to protect each other. And the efforts to protect each other are often the most dangerous things that we do” (331). The most dangerous thing that Thelma Cates does is protect her daughter from understanding her own illness and this is crucially where one may find blame in the play. After revealing Jessie’s long history of epileptic seizures, Thelma defends herself saying – “You never hurt yourself. I never let you out of my sight. I caught you every time” (Norman 70). Out of love for her daughter, Thelma dispossessed Jessie of a problem thus also robbing her of the potential tools to deal with that problem. As Jessie tells her mother, “That was mine to know, Mama, not yours” (70). Jessie chastises her mother for not telling her sooner because, as she states, “If I’d known I was an epileptic, Mama, I wouldn’t have ridden any horses” (71). The horse riding incident where Jessie’s problem first became apparent to her husband, Cecil, is an unsolved riddle in the play because it may or may not have precipitated the end of her marriage. Thelma interprets it as the cause by saying to Jessie, “your fits made him sick and you know it” (56). Jessie denies this but admits that many normal things were a huge effort for her – “I tried to get more exercise and I tried to stay awake … but he [Cecil] always knew I was trying so it didn’t work” (59). Jessie does not blame her mother, but as a reader, one may understand an early misstep by a parent that disproportionately shapes Jessie’s life.
Do suicidal persons sometimes apportion blame? Yes, and they may discuss it with a therapist or with a friend or family member before a suicide, or it may be written on a suicide note. When discussing the merits of ’night, Mother, the playwright herself says, “I felt that if you were going to talk about suicide, there was really no way to talk about it without having someone argue back” (Betsko and Koenig 330). In the early 1980’s, this was what made Norman’s play distinctive from other theatrical works that avoided facing the topic head on. The argument between Jessie and Thelma about the merits and demerits of suicide is certainly the debate of the play but is there really no blame signalled in this argument? Norman asserts that no blame is apportioned in her play, that Jessie “wants Mama to live, and to live free of the guilt that Mama might have felt had Jessie just left her a note” (Betsko and Koenig 328). This is reflected in one of Jessie’s statements in the play:
“I only told you so I could explain it, so you wouldn’t blame yourself, so you wouldn’t feel bad. There wasn’t anything you could say to change my mind. I didn’t want you to save me. I just wanted you to know” (Norman 74).
On the other hand, even a cursory glance at the text of the mother-daughter narrative exhibits several red-flag issues. The most apparent is that Thelma betrayed her daughter’s trust by never revealing her history of epilepsy until the night Jessie plans to commit suicide. The blame game is usually interpreted as unhealthy and unhelpful especially in the case of a suicide since the damage is irreversible but Norman leads us into the middle of an emotive argument so maybe apportioning blame is constructive and ultimately meaningful.
Norman depicts a suicide narrative within the frame of a theatrical play. Jeremy Holmes, a contributor to the book, Phenomenology of Suicide, writes that “Finding ways to develop a ‘suicide narrative’ enables death-preoccupied sufferers to talk about, rather than enact, suicidal impulses” (114). He goes on to state that, “The suicide narrative is an attempt to impose meaning on the inchoate life experience integral to suicidality, to ‘make sense’ of incomprehensible and overwhelming negative affect” (114). Jessie engages in such a narrative with her mother, Thelma. In spite of Thelma’s efforts, nothing she says or does serves to dissuade Jessie from her plan but the mere fact that Jessie engages in a suicide narrative indicates an inconclusiveness to her own internal debate. Since we know that Jessie’s plan is unalterable, the playwright turns the suicide narrative on its head because the normal, desired result of saving the person is not a possibility here! So why does Jessie discuss the plan with her mother? The suicide narrative that Jessie engages in does not have a future but only seeks confirmation on issues from the past – it is a reinforcement of an idea that something already went wrong, long ago, and cannot be fixed now. The missing piece of Jessie’s plan is a show of control because this is the one thing that she has been unable to exhibit during her life.
Jessie’s exercise of control is, unfortunately, also an allocation of blame. For Jessie to take command of her life, she must wrestle it from her over-protective mother’s grip. The suicide narrative is an argument where Jessie wins and must know that she can win for the plan to be worthwhile. Thelma inevitably interprets this as a condemnation of everything she has done and been for her daughter, saying, “you gave me this chance to make it better, convince you to stay alive, and I couldn’t do it. How can I live with myself after this, Jessie?” (Norman 73). Jessie acknowledges this point, advising her mother on what to say to people – “You had no idea. All right? I really think it’s better that way. If they know we talked about it, they really won’t understand how you let me go” (82). Jessie’s awareness of her mother’s dilemma makes these words all the crueller because it becomes a new secret for Thelma to carry, like the long held secret of Jessie’s epilepsy. After Jessie has taken her own life, Thelma’s final words in the play are, “Jessie, Jessie, child … Forgive me. (Pause) I thought you were mine” (89). In this statement is love, regret, and the acknowledged loss of control. For once, Jessie has been in total charge of the situation and her choice not to leave a suicide note but to speak with her mother confirms this.
Norman’s play, ’night, Mother, continues to be a valued and valuable piece of modern literature. The playwright confronts her readers with a discussion about suicide that accurately reflects the hopelessness and powerlessness that people feel in such situations. The motif of – nobody understands why they did it – often heard in the aftermath of suicides is brought under intense scrutiny by Norman. The story of the play induces discomfort in an audience because there are always clues when something has gone wrong in a person’s life. If the play depicts Jessie finally in triumph, then it also depicts a tragedy for Thelma Cates. This mother is not cruel, or unloving, or neglectful, and yet she doesn’t understand her daughter, saying finally in desperation – “Jessie! Stop this! I didn’t know! I was here with you all the time. How could I know you were so alone” (Norman 88). What was a small but tolerable, even happy life for Thelma was unbearable for Jessie.
At the opening of this essay, I set out to locate the turn where it went wrong for Jessie Cates. The answer lies in a single, potent act made by an overprotective, controlling mother. Jessie never truly shaped her own life, as has been explained, but instead she ever so slowly lost more and more control over what happened – “I am what became of your child … It’s somebody I lost, all right, it’s my own self. Who I never was” (Norman 76). The reason that Jessie initially lost control was because her mother shielded her from a diagnosis of epilepsy. Jessie’s illness went on to shape every little aspect of her life, causing irreparable damage by the time she reached middle age. The only way that Jessie perceived she could regain control was by committing suicide because as she tells her mother, “I’m not giving up! This is the other thing I’m trying” (75). The guaranteed solution is sad and also a triumph (as the playwright labels it) because one must respect a decision made after so many years of experience.
Andrijić, Nataša Loga, et al. “Suicidal Ideation and Thoughts of Death in Epilepsy Patients.” Psychiatria Danubina, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2014, pp. 52-55.
Betsko, Kathleen, and Rachel Koenig. Interviews with Contemporary Women Playwrights. Beech Tree Books, 1987.
Holmes, Jeremy. “Suicide and Deliberate Self-Harm: When Attachments Fail.” Phenomenology of Suicide, edited by Maurizio Pompili, Springer, 2018, pp. 113-130.
Norman, Marsha. ‘Night, Mother. Hill and Wang, 1983.
Pack, Alison M. “Epilepsy and Suicidality: What’s the Relationship?” Epilepsy Currents, Vol. 16, Issue 4, 2016, pp. 236-238.
Reuning, Sarah. “Depression – the Undiagnosed Disability in Marsha Norman’s ‘night, Mother.” Peering Behind the Curtain: Disability, Illness, and the Extraordinary Body in Contemporary Theater, edited by Thomas Fahy and Kimball King, Routledge, 2002, pp. 55-67.
Wenzel, Amy, and Megan Spokas. “Cognitive and Information Processing Approaches to Understanding Suicidal Behaviors.” The Oxford Handbook of Suicide and Self-Injury, edited by Matthew K. Nock, Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 235-254.
Yasiry, Zeid, and Simon D. Shorvon. “How phenobarbital revolutionized epilepsy therapy: The story of phenobarbital therapy in epilepsy in the last 100 years.” Epilepsia, Vol. 53, (Suppl. 8), 2012, pp. 26–39.