Scholarly Article: “Happy Journey” added to Works

Long Christmas Dinner and One Acts Old Cover

The Long Christmas Dinner and Other Plays in One Act classic cover

Our website’s Works area continues to grow! Eric Specian has contributed a plot summary and critical analysis for Wilder’s one-act play, The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden, a component of Wilder’s larger collection, The Long Christmas Dinner and Other Plays in One Act. A sampling of his critical analysis can be found below.

Even though much of the play’s focus is on Ma Kirby, it is, after all, a journey. “Wilder’s people dignify the ordinary because they discover permanent truths about their world…A car trip becomes an occasion for cosmic recognitions… To begin with, Wilder’s journey causes his people to wonder [about the world].’” The “cosmic” aspects of the play develop from the geographically diverse parts of New Jersey they drive through; what becomes essential is what happens on the way to Beulah’s house. Each of the distractions causes at least one member of the family to think, be it about death, food, religion, the population, or family. In doing so, Wilder reveals the benefits of taking a trip every now and then.

To enjoy the complete critical analysis and plot summary, visit The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden Works page.

Our thanks to Eric Specian for his latest contribution to our Works area, and our ever expanding insight into the works of Thornton Wilder.