Thornton Wilder’s “The Happy Journey”
“The Happy Journey” is a one-act play written by Thornton Wilder. In this play, he illustrates a simple Kirby family journey. They are heading to Camden from their home to visit their married daughter Beulah. Beulah became ill whilst delivering or giving birth to a dead child and had to go through an operation.
At the beginning of their journey, Ma Kate Kirby suggests her 13-year-old son Arthur put on a hat and urge Caroline not to use any makeup. Wilder’s Happy Journey, illustrates a simple journey of the Kirby family from their home to Camden, regarding meeting the family’s married daughter Beulah.
The Kirby family has maintained a good relationship with their neighbors. They also help each other in need. Ma Kirby says about the health of the baby of her neighbor Mrs. Schwartz also tells her to feed her cat in her absence. She suggests to her that if she requires anything she can use it by opening the door. Mr. Schwartz was also very kind-hearted so she easily accepts it. When the next neighbor Mrs. Hobmeyer comes, Ma Kirby tells Caroline to greet her. Mrs. Hobmeyer does not beat the rug because she does not want to gag the Kirby family. Until they leave the neighbors greet them best wishes.
Arther was feared that his teacher may scold him so he requested his father not to drive by the school. However mother Kirby feels that she has the right to take her children wherever she likes. On the way, they see a funeral procession on the way, and father Elmer takes off his hat. Ma Kirby tells Arthur to take his hat off as sympathy to the dead person. She even says that everyone has to die one day so somehow she seems philosophical.
In the Billboards, they see several advertisements– for cigarettes, suspenders, spaghetti, and suits. Arthur tells, permission for taking a paper route with the Newark Daily Post but Ma Kirby does not like it because she thinks her family and health are more important than money. Arthur talks without any respect whilst talking about God, this makes Ma Kirby very angry. They see a collie dog in New Brunswick and Ma Kirby feels pity for the weak dog.
Ma Kirby talks with the young garage man and sympathies with him at the gas station. Again they stop to have hot dogs. At this moment, Arthur regrets that he was wrong when he was making a different view of God. Ma forgives him and tells him to be good in words and work. Therefore, Arthur and Caroline start crying. Now, they reach the house of Beulah and all are jolly. The eyes of Behylah are filled with tears. She kisses her father and hugs him. She shows gifts to her brother and sister. After that Ma Kirby suggests Beulah sleep on the bed and take a rest. As being a responsible mother, she goes towards the kitchen and starts cooking.
In this play, Ma Kirby is the leading and strong character. She is a loving mother, an active woman, strict about dress and manners, thoughts and beliefs in God. She is satisfied and joyful with her family members. For her, the place where her family lives is the best place on earth. As a responsible or good mother, she wants her children to be honest by doing good and think good. She is a philosophical, determined, and kind-hearted person.
Here is another series link of plays in one act.
- Riders To The Sea, Written By J.M. Synge
- The Happy Journey, Written by Thornton Wilder
- A Marriage Proposal, Written by Anton Chekov
- Lord Byron’s Love Letter, Written by Tennessee Williams
- The Romancers, Written by Edmond Rostand
- Waterloo by Arthur, Written Conan Doyle
- To Bobolink, for Her Sprit, Written by William Inge