Order and Mess in Sarah Ruhl’s the Clean House


  • Raghad Abed Al Abbas Khalid M. A. student, Department of English, College of Education for humanities, University of Diyala, Iraq
  • Nahidh Falih Sulaiman (Ph.D.), Professor of English Literature, Department of English, College of Education for Humanities, University of Diyala, Iraq




Bereavement, Grief, loss, Order, Mess, Sarah Ruhl, The Clean House


Bereavement is a universal and recurrent issue, as everyone will lose someone differently. In general, modern society has relegated the dismal subject to the private domain and perimeter. Americans had much to mourn in the aftermath of some traumas such as 11 September, the Gulf War, Hurricane Katrina and etc…, mourning and grieving have been closely followed. As a consequence, bereavement has become a public issue. Since bereavement is an individual and collective response that varies depending on emotions and conditions, it could also be characterized as the period following a tremendous loss. Hence, the bereaved people are affected psychologically and socially, and experience periodic sadness and questioning through their grieving process. The issues of bereavement, loss, and death have been considered as important topics of theoretical interest due to the perspectives and issues presented by Sigmund Freud, John Bowlby, and Elizabeth Kubler-Ross during the 20th century. They categorized the process of grief and mourning that individuals go through based on stages and foundations that help in comprehending the situations people go through during their grief journey, trying to adapt to a massive loss. The present study is based on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ Stages of Grief theory (1969) in analyzing The Clean House play of the American playwright Sarah Ruhl. This research is divided into six sections. The first section is an overview of the theme, bereavement. While section two presents the philosophy of Sigmund Freud and John Bowlby as pioneers of grief and bereavement theories. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ model of grief is discussed in section three. Section four presents Sarah Ruhl’s life and works. And section five discusses the play The Clean House (2004), presenting the order and mess in the characters’ process of grief, and the emotional conflict due to their bereavement. Section six presents the conclusion.


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How to Cite

Khalid, R. A. A. A. ., & Sulaiman, N. F. . (2023). Order and Mess in Sarah Ruhl’s the Clean House. International Journal of Language Learning and Applied Linguistics, 2(3), 30–45. https://doi.org/10.51699/ijllal.v2i3.1203