Tuesday, May 17, 2005

So much for Scholarly Pursuits

Over the weekend, I watched this lovely movie WIT. It is based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning play by Margaret-Edson.

It is the story of Prof. Dr. Vivian Bearing (Emma Thompson), an erudite of the highest order. She is accomplished, poised and extremely intelligent (read as witty). You could say – something we could all aspire to be. She even recites John Donne when going through the CAT-Scan.

Unfortunately, Prof. Bearing is diagnosed with ovarian cancer with no chance of surviving except, probably, if she goes through ‘full dosage’ of chemotherapy. The doctor, another accomplished professor with numerous publications for whom Dr. Bearing is an important new guinea-pig, asks her in a taunting tone, “…this needs a tough person, are you tough?”. Dr. Bearing thinks she was, is, will always be…

As the effects of full-dosage sets in, Vivian realizes that
perhaps she is not what she always thought herself to be. She is, in reality, a patient in pain who does not need John Donne’s “and then death, thou shall die”, but Runaway Bunny’s tale of coming back to mama.

It’s a strong message for those of us out there, wrecking our lives over scholarly pursuits. It is only a small part of the larger scheme of things.

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