It is about a young woman who had an illness from when she was 15, she has been asleep for 29 years, and has now only just been woken up by an injection, but she struggles all through the play to understand that she is not 15 any more she is a grown women. Deborah has a mind of a 15year old but the body of a 44year old. You can see as soon as Deborah wakes up that she is struggling as she uses past tense, here is a quote from the play to show this, “Who is it? It is miles away. The rain is falling. I will get wet. ”
She also struggles to get sound out if her mouth as she whispers. There are two main characters in the play, Deborah and the doctor, this helps the audience focus on Deborah. Deborah speaks about things that may have happened in the past, that she still remembers, “No one hears what I say. No-one is listening to me. ” This may have been what it as like when she was 15 but it could have been when she was asleep, she may have always been trying to speak out to people coming to check on her, she may have had some awareness of them.
Deborah talks about her past, the things she says Might be the important things that have happened, she cannot just keep her mind on one thing, this shows how she is struggling to wake up to reality. Before Deborah fell asleep there is a hint of sexual activity with her and her boyfriend that may have happened, as in the play she says, “You shouldn’t have touched me like that. I shan’t tell my mother. I shouldn’t have touched you like that” Or this could be from past carers who may have abused her. The doctor has got a very good relationship with Deborah this may implicate that he is in love with her.
“I have never let you go” This detects that the doctor has a bit of love for his patient. Deborah has not really changed as she sill has the mind of a 15year old; the only thing that changed was her appearance, which is something she had no control of. As the play goes on Deborah’s sentences increase which show that she is adjusting to being part of the real world again. But Deborah still stays confused as here she says, “I can’t get to sleep. The dog keeps turning about. I think he’s dreaming. He wakes me up. He’s my best dog though. I talk French. ”
In that sentence it shows that Deborah is still struggling as she says she can’t get to sleep but really she has been asleep for 29years. Deborah doesn’t really have much from her life before, she only has a few images from her childhood, as she has missed out most of her adult life. Pinter uses this idea as an important part of conveying Deborah’s struggle, as she is forced to understand what has happened to her. At this point of the play Deborah is beginning to adjust to the surroundings she wakes up to. A quote to show this is, “She looks at him for the first time”
In the play Pinter doesn’t really involve Deborah’s family, until she says, “I’ve not seen Daddy today. He’s funny. He makes me laugh. He runs with me. We play with balloons. ” We have only been in contact with Deborah and the doctor so this makes this part of the play more significant. From what Deborah says there it look like that her father represents the fun and happy part of her child life. From some things Deborah says we can see that her mother is a more practical figure who likes the idea of discipline we can see this in this quote,
“If I sleep late my mother wakes me up. There are things to do. ” Her dad is more down-to-earth and is always having fun with her. Trough the play Deborah progresses a bit more each time, she starts to come to terms to what has happened to her. She struggles to take the illness seriously, as when the doctor shows how she looked, Deborah just laughs. When Deborah decides to get out of bed, she just thinks it is a normal day and just waking up in the morning or later on in the afternoon.
Pinter builds up the tension within the audience when Deborah decides to get up because just out of the blue she says, “Right. I’ll get up now. ” But as she finally gets up, we can see that Deborah still doesn’t understand she is a grown woman as she acts like a child, she starts to dance, but by herself, and she goes back to a fairy tale, ‘Alice in wonderland’ this shows that she is a kind of wonderland where everything is strange for her. The title ‘A kind of Alaska’ shows what it was like for Deborah to be asleep for that long, where they have long sleeps in the winter.
When Pinter finally allows Deborah’s younger sister Pauline to enter, Deborah doesn’t recognise her she struggles to understand that she is her sister, as the last time Deborah saw her was when she was much younger, Deborah asks to look into her eyes this part is quite important. Deborah is annoyed with Pauline, but we don’t really know why, it may be something Pauline did before she had this illness. When Deborah looks down at herself for the first time she realises that she is slimmer, she does not understand at all. But when Pinter decides to let Deborah know the truth, she starts to understand what has happened to her.
But she has a fear of going back to sleep, as she didn’t like it. Pinter shows the audience what it was like for Deborah to be asleep for that amount of time by Deborah having images, showing the distress it caused her. At the end of the play Deborah finally comes to grasp of what has happened to her. Pinter wrote the play like this to show the audience what it is like for someone to be asleep for that long a time, how hard it would be for someone to wake up and understand what has just happened to them, and how they would feel. I think it is good as it builds up the audience’s tension all through the play.