Uncommon Women’s Dilemmas in Wendy Wasserstein’s Quasi-Trilogy

Yi-chin Shih


Winning several important drama awards, such as the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award, Wendy Wasserstein (1950~2006) is one of the significant playwrights in the history of American theatre. Especially, Wasserstein stimulates the public’s attention to women’s issues by recording many successful female characters in her plays. Aware of the impact of the women’s movement in the 1960s and 1970s, Wasserstein describes how the social movement influences women’s personal life and depicts the joy and pain that feminism brings them. While the backlash against feminism is saturated in the 1980s, Wasserstein also discusses this anti-feminist force in society to see women’s struggles and their awakening. This paper deals with three of Wasserstein’s plays, Uncommon Women and Others (1977), Isn’t It Romantic (1983), and The Heidi Chronicles (1988), together as a quasi-trilogy to examine the development of feminism over three decades from the 1960s to the 1980s and to portray the women’s dilemma of marriage or career. Regarding the women’s predicament of being either “in” or “out” of the family, the paper argues that Wasserstein in the plays sketches different possibilities by emphasizing the diversity of women’s life experience and their autonomy.


Wendy Wasserstein, Feminine Mystique, Women’s Movement, Backlash against Feminism, Uncommon Women and Others, Isn’t It Romantic, The Heidi Chronicles

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.7n.4p.213


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