When first reading this play I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like it. The title being “The Whale” and the first sentence being about a “morbidly obese” man, kind of freaked me out. Not to mention one of the very first scenes, Charlie is masturbating to gay porn. When Charlie first meets Elder Thomas he is having a heart spasm and makes Elder Thomas read an essay to him. My first thoughts were that Charlie was a creepy! I was going to have to hear about this sad character the whole play…
This set a tone for the beginning of the play for me but this tone quickly changed when the other characters were introduced. I enjoyed getting to know every character better and going on their ‘journey’ with them.
Like most shows or movies, I grew into every character and began to understand where they were all coming from. Although I was unable to see the play live, reading it gave me a pretty good visual of most of the characters. However, they each had things I didn’t really love about them.
Charlie: Of course they made him out to be this disgusting character; they described him so graphically and his daughter had a lot to say about his appearance. But this wasn’t what bothered me the most. What I didn’t like was how much he seemed to not care or understand the other characters. What I mean by this is most of his friends and family cared so much about him but it didn’t seem like he listened or cared about what they had to say.
Liz: She seemed like a really helpful character who wanted to do everything for Charlie but there was something about her that seemed selfish to me. I think I feel that way because I didn’t truly see how they connected to each other since they were both terrible listeners and didn’t really understand what each one was going through. Or at least didn’t want to. They stayed friends for their own selfish reasons; the pain of losing Alan.
Elder Thomas: This character was so confusing to me because he wanted to be on a mission but he kept doing things that were against what he believed in. I didn’t understand why he wanted to be a Mormon so bad. It just seems like he wants to help people and not necessarily be a Mormon on a mission. I’m so happy that his parents weren’t upset with him and hopefully he understands that he can do what he wants with out having to go on a mission. I think I see his family helping him with a real career. So that is pretty optimistic.
Ellie: This child… OH BOY! She was a crazy character and I know that a lot of what she did was because her father abandoned her and her mom wasn’t very attentive; But I don’t feel like we got to see a lot of her genuine side. All she was, was a bitch. I don’t have much sympathy toward people who act like that because they are the ones that are causing harm to themselves and other people. I liked that she was finally able to open up to her dad at the very end but even when she was trying it wasn’t enough for me to be satisfied for her character at the end.
Mary: I thought she was a pretty confusing character because she was talked about as a druggy or drinker before appearing in the play, but really she was very nice and just seemed insecure. The characters should’ve talked about her in a better way because they didn’t seem to have any real issues with each other and there was no reason for Charlie and her not to talk to for such a long of a time given how civil they were upon their meeting. I guess it just bugged me that they waited so long to talk to each other when there really wasn’t much anger or loss in their relationship.
I was so mad that Alan chose to kill himself slowly (before the play started) because WHAT KIND OF PERSON KILLS THEMSELVES BECAUSE THEY CHOSE TO LOVE SOMEBODY! Romeo and Juliet I guess… but that was a TRAGEDY! & That…is stupid.
What’s even worse is Charlie did basically the same exact thing to himself! He slowly began to kill himself by getting too fat and everyone around him is suffering because of it!
Overall I really liked the play because it was so different then a lot of things that I have read in the past. The twist at the end about the essay totally caught me by surprise, I had no idea it was part of the plot. But I think my favorite part to read about was Elder Thomas because he showed so much mystery and potential in his life. I wanted to know more of his back story and why he chose to be away from his home. I liked finding out about him more than I did Alan because Alan’s story seemed so fake, desperate, and too depressing.
Hoped you liked my post, read ‘The Whale’ by Samuel D. Hunter; if I didn’t already spoil it for you.