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The Family Reunion
T.S. Elliott's "The Family Reunion" is a play about the return to home, and the looking back at ghosts of the past. The play starts with Harry returning to his boyhood home for his mother's birthday. The plot centers around Harry's return, the mystery surrounding his wife's death, and his family's desire to have Harry take over the role as head of the household. It's an anticipated return, one that they all have been waiting for. There are concurrent plots threading through the work, such as the mystery involving his own father's death and disappearance, Harry's schizophrenia and Mary's return to the family as well as her inability to leave.
In Scene II of "The Family Reunion", Mary and Harry meet in the drawing room, waiting for the family dinner (reunion) to begin. Mary & Harry are second cousins, both growing up in Wishwood. Harry has returned after an absence of eight years, and mysterious death of his wife at sea. There's a recurring thread of "waiting" that runs through the play: waiting for Harry's return, waiting for dinner to begin, waiting for Harry's brothers to appear, waiting for the other guests. In waiting for Harry's return to Wishwood, everything in the house has been kept the way it was when he left. "I had only just noticed that this room is quite unchanged: The same hangings...the same pictures...even the table, the chairs, the sofa...all in the same positions. I was looking to see if anything was changed, but if it is so, I can't find it." The unchanged room symbolizes the Harry of his youth, and the person that Harry is hoping to find when he returns. It also symbolizes his family's inability to accept the fact that Harry has moved on. Their longing to keep life the same. In this scene Mary and Agatha have been waiting for Harry to appear for dinner. Agatha exits and Mary alone says, "Waiting, waiting, always waiting, I think this house means to keep us waiting."
Harry, returning from Wishwood after eight years discusses his longing to return back to his childhood home. (The home theme this semester.) His return to Wishwood is actually his need to make peace with his past, his loss of his father and the confines of his childhood. By returning to Wishwood he also is looking to escape his recent past, and his inability to live in the present.
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