Life During Wartime Synopsis

The play begins with Tommy being initiated into the hard sell tactics of a home-security company by his boss Heinrich. On his first assignment, Tommy meets Gale, a divorced mother with whom he immediately falls in love even though she is quite a few years older than he and has a teen-age son. Tommy soon learns that the home-security company is involved in a scam whereby they burglarize the homes in which the system has been installed. Just after Tommy decides to propose to Gale, her house is broken into and both she and her son, Howard, are killed. In the second act, Tommy confronts Heinrich with the break-in, but Heinrich refuses to accept responsibility, saying that Tommy was naive to believe in the possibility of finding happiness in such a dangerous world. Tommy begins to receive visits from Gale’s ghost who comforts him. Also present throughout the play is the spirit of John Calvin, the sixteenth-century religious leader whose belief in Original Sin threads the play with the same feeling of hopelessness and futility that Tommy experiences upon the loss of Gale. It isn’t until the last scene when Tommy meets Megan, a woman who might possibly be the reincarnation of Gale, that he comes to believe in the possibility of honestly and lovingly living in the modern world despite the hardships one inevitably faces.  (


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