Themes in Spring Awakening
Another important topic in this play and especially this scene is sex education. Right from the start we see there is a clear need for sexual education. Other than Melchior, none of the teenagers have an understanding of what they are experiencing. However, when they look to the adults to give them answers they are too embarrassed to give them. Now, (actress playing Wendla), with that in mind, the main goal in this scene is to act confused. This lack of proper sexual education from your mother has left you in the dark, so you need to appear like you don’t understand what’s happening to you. You’re pregnant but you’re not sure why. Remember, storks are your best understanding about where babies come from, and you think that they appear only, “When you really love a man”. This is why when you say the line, “But that’s not possible, Mother. I’m not married…!”, you really need to mean it. Your not just trying to cover up what you did, but rather you haven’t been told that what you did is how babies are made. As the Scene progresses and as you become more educated, it’s important that your lack of understanding turns from confusion, to regret and finally, to irritation. Regret at the fact that your mother had the chance to instruct you about sex but was too embarrassed to do so. This feeling of regret needs to come through when you say the line, “Oh Mother, why didn’t you tell me everything!” Then finally, the last thing you say in this scene has to show irritation, “Oh!”, (empathize that) “I heard it very clearly. – Who’s out there?” Your mother still is not being forthcoming, even about a simple thing like who is at the door. For you, (actress playing Mrs. Bergmann), you should start off by blaming Wendla for getting pregnant, but in the back of your mind you should feel guilty. You know that you made the mistake by not educating her when she clearly was ready for it. You are paying the price for not being cooperative with your daughter’s requests about sex.
Education is another theme Wedekind presents to us, with emphasis on sexually education. As I stated above there is a clear need for sexual education. Other than Melchior (who seems to be a 30 year old man), none of the teenagers have an understanding of what they are experiencing. When they look to the adults to give them answers they are too embarrassed to give them. Wendla consistently bombards her mother with questions about where babies come from, and the only response she gives is “When you really love a man”. There’s no wonder that, in Act 3 Scene 5, Wendla doesn’t understand why she is pregnant. How could she be pregnant when she doesn’t love Melchior? Even here her mother still refuses to educate her, but rather just brings in an abortionist. It’s messed up.
Miscommunication and the lack of education are rampant throughout the play of Spring Awakening, almost like the black plaque in Europe was inescapable to the villagers. Much of the miscommunication results from the adult’s perception that their teenagers are pure innocent little angels; when in fact people are born with an innate sexual drive. The parents seem to have an inability to translate the definition of sex into terms that they believe will be acceptable for their children to hear. Since sexual desire and feelings are innate in humans, restricted education of sex seems ignorant, almost hysterical. Wendla is made to believe a stork brings babies, and is utterly confused when she realizes she is pregnant. She is led to believe that in order to receive said baby, one must love a man. This broad use of the term love leaves Wendla confused on the difference between love and sex. How could she have a baby if she has never loved anyone other than her mother? She just can’t fathom the reasoning behind her situation, since it was never explained to her.
For some reason sex education is a very sensitive subject. Most people, even to this day, are either appalled or embarrassed by it. However, it is vital that young people are informed about this natural thing called sex. I believe this scene to be the most important when trying to conceptualize the importance of sexual education. In the beginning of the play, we see Wendla’s mother giving her a sex-ed lesson as if she were 4 years old. When Wendla asks where babies come from, she tells her that the stork brings it and that one MUST love a man in order to have a baby. The naiveté here is just ridiculous…to think that a grown woman would think a teenager would believe that. In the story Wendla actually did believe her and so when she became pregnant, she was confused and in denial. In order to maintain her innocence, the mother even hires the neighborhood abortionist to make her pure again. In the end the most innocent person in this situation-Wendla-dies and all because of lack of proper education. This goes to show that when parents are too protective of a child’s innocence, the consequences could be dire.
What also arises in this scene is the miscommunication and education between parents and their children. Wendla is laying in bed assuming the worst and not aware that she is with child. In [insert scene], she asks her mother where babies came from. Instead of telling her the truth, Mrs.Bergmann tells her daughter that you have to be in love to have children. Under this assumption, Wendla has sex?(Not sure if I should say rape) with Melchior. When her Mrs.Bergmann finally reveals to her daughter that she is pregnant, a confused and upset Wendla says it’s not possible, because she wasn’t in love. If her mother would have told her from the beginning that sex leads to children, Wendla would have never gotten pregnant. Then in an act to preserve what is left of her daughter’s innocence, Mrs.Bergmann decides for Wendla that she is to have an abortion. It is not explicitly said but inferred that Wendla has no idea that she is about to have an abortion.