The play Our Country’s Good demonstrates the struggles that are associated with being separated with reality. The play’s theme of love and jealousy can be compared to the writings of Fleur Adcock’s “The Video”, Theodore Roethke’s, “My Papa’s Waltz,” and Peters Meinke’s “Untitled”. Incorporating “hard labor, famine, disease, and arbitrary brutality” the play highlights the feeling of dissociation with society.
In the poem “The Video,” Ceri was ignored by her parents since the birth of her younger sister. Having other priorities, she was forced to wait for the attention of her parents. Even when her mother recovered from the pregnancy Ceri noticed how her mother was now “twice as busy”. At the end of the poem Ceri watching the video of her sister’s pregnancy demonstrates how she wished that things could return to what they were when she was a single child. This is similar to the play “Our Country’s Good” because throughout the production there is a constant depiction on how the character left their country for a good reason. Even with the constant loneliness and arbitrary brutality a spectator could see that it was because of their separation from reality that they were actually better understood. An example of this in the play was when Ralph referred to the prisoner’s in production as “ladies and gentlemen”. This is remarkable because even with the large amount of fights as well as thefts, Ralph sees the convicts in a humane way that no other person can realize. This is much how Ceri wishes to be seen and loved by her parents.
In the poem “My Papa’s Waltz,” the speaker portrays a graphic image of how a father treats his child. Stating that with “whiskey breath” his father abused his child, battering him “on one knuckle” and leaving his “right ear scraped” from a buckle. Even with this abuse the child still clings to the father’s shirt showing that no matter what his father did to him, the child just wanted to be loved. This can be compared to the play when Duckling professes her love for Harry as he grows more and more sick. What is so remarkable is that Duckling vows to love Harry even though she knows that Harry might have been responsible in killing Handy Barker, her previous lover. Duckling’s love for Harry despite what he did in the past is similar to the child’s love for his father.
In the last writing “Untitled,” the speaker is the child’s father. The father proclaims throughout the poem his regrets towards the child’s sorrows in which he caused. Not realizing how much he loved his child until it was too late; he believed that he killed not only the innocence but the beauty of his oldest child. The message of appreciation is also represented at the end of the play when before the production begins, the convicts plan to escape. It was Mary that persuaded the convicts to stay claiming that Ralph had done so much for them. Reciting the new prologue and referring to the convicts as “true patriots” the audience is able to see that there is good in everyone, even the father who had once hurt his child.
In conclusion, the relation between Timberlake Wertenbaker’s, Our County’s Good and the poems shows the feeling associated with being dissociated with society. Realizing the potential of the abused, each writing demonstrates that everyone has a right to viewed as an equal.