The Outside

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For the Taylor Swift song "the outside" see Taylor Swift (Album)

The Outside (1917) is the shortest and least written about plays by Susan Glaspell. She uses symbolism to convey the emptiness of Mrs. Patrick’s life on the outside. Glaspell uses the imagery of the station and the areas beyond to show that Mrs. Patrick is keeping herself away from the things she once knew. Glaspell’s use of symbolism aides the characters onstage as well as the audience in realizing the situation the women are facing.

The play was revived in 2008 by the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, London.[1]


Mrs. Patrick
Allie Mayo
The Captain
Mark C.


The plot centers on two women, Mrs. Patrick, Allie Mayo, who have exiled themselves from the world because of emotional pain caused by their husbands. Allie Mayo has refused to say an “unnecessary word” since the death of her husband (The Outside 51). Mrs. Patrick has returned to the place that she and her husband used to visit and had talked of buying to bury the things that hurt her. The main action of the play takes place in an abandoned life-saving station that Mrs. Patrick has recently bought, on the cape, in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Three men, Bradford, Tony, and the Captain, fight to save a man who has drowned at their old station, now the house of Mrs. Patrick. The men have brought the victim to this place because of convenience, since the body was found only forty feet from the house, and out of habit, since they used to work from this location. At the end, it is Allie who tries to save Mrs. Patrick from the life that she wants.



  • Ben-Zvi, Linda. Susan Glaspell: Her Life and Times. New York:Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Gainor, J. Ellen. Susan Glaspell in Context: American Theatre, Culture, and Politics, 1915-48. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan P, 2001.
  • Glaspell, Susan. Plays. Trifles Ed. C.W.E. Bigsby. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987.
  • Waterman, Arthur E. Susan Glaspell. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1966.