Beliefs About Dating in Sure Thing

Note: I’ve decided to post some of the essays from my senior portfolio here. This is the one paper to make it into the portfolio that is from my first semester of college. It was written for my Written Analysis of Literature class. It’s unchanged from that class (except for the citation, which I had to change the URL for).

Sure Thing by David Ives is about Bill and Betty’s first attempts at getting to know each other.  They play illustrates how easy it is for things to go wrong when two people are getting to know each other.  Bill and Betty have to start over multiple times and correct their mistakes before they reach the point where they decide to leave the café together.

As the play progresses, Bill and Betty get farther and farther in their conversation before one of them makes a mistake.  At the beginning, Betty seems entirely uninterested.  The first several do-overs are the result of her not even letting Bill take the seat beside her.  Bill asks “Is this taken?” (1) multiple times and is turned down by Betty. Once she finally does allow him to sit beside her, it still takes several times before Bill is successfully able to get Betty to stop reading her book and focus on him.  Ives is showing that for anything to happen, two people have to at least be interested in each other.  In the beginning of Sure Thing, Betty does not seem to want to interact with Bill at all, and because of this, nothing can happen between them.

Once Betty finally begins to really talk to Bill, there is still a lot of room for each of them to make mistakes.  At first, the mistakes center around Bill asking Betty about what book she is reading.  The first time he asks, Bill responds, “Oh, Hemingway” (2) once Betty tells him that it is The Sound and the Fury.  A mistake as simple as getting the author of a book wrong requires that the two back track.  This shows how fragile things are at the very beginning of a relationship.  Bill and Betty have just met, and the slightest mistake can ruin things.

Ives seems to be showing how picky women can be about the men they are willing to give a chance when Bill is forced to start over several times after Betty asks about college.  It is not until Bill responds “Harvard” (3) that Ives does not make Bill start over again.  A simple thing such as that makes Bill lose his chances with Betty, and it is not until he tells her that he attended one of the best universities in the United States that the conversation continues.

Even once they have been talking for a while, small things still manage to derail Bill and Betty’s conversation.  Later in the play they have both gotten into the conversation, but when one of them says just one thing that the other does not like, the bell sounds and they are forced to start again.  Ives shows how important first impressions are because even once the conversation has started to come easily, mistakes can still be made.

By the end of the play, Bill and Betty have finally managed to make it through a whole conversation.  Betty responds, “Sure thing” (11) to Bill’s invitation that they go to the movies together.  After many times of starting over, the couple has finally managed to say all of the right things, and Ives has shown readers how easy it is to mess up an initial conversation with someone.  There are many chances to say the wrong things when meeting someone new, and this is shown in Sure Thing.

Works Cited

Ives, David.  Sure Thing.  <>  27 May 2016.

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