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Happy Days | Study Guide

Samuel Beckett

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Course Hero. "Happy Days Study Guide." Course Hero. 22 Mar. 2018. Web. 31 May 2023. <>.

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Course Hero. (2018, March 22). Happy Days Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 31, 2023, from

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Course Hero. "Happy Days Study Guide." March 22, 2018. Accessed May 31, 2023.


Course Hero, "Happy Days Study Guide," March 22, 2018, accessed May 31, 2023,

Happy Days | Plot Summary

See Plot Diagram


Act 1

Winnie, a middle-aged woman, is buried to her waist in a mound of sun-scorched earth. In this setting, Winnie is exposed to the elements of heat and constant daylight. While Winnie mentions that this has not always been her situation, the audience never learns how her current state of affairs came to be. The time for waking and the time for sleeping is signaled by a loud, off-stage bell. From the black bag at her side, Winnie withdraws her inscribed but indecipherable toothbrush, toothpaste, spectacles, lipstick, health tonic, comb, lipstick, nail file, music box, and revolver. Each item triggers memories, including time with her husband, Willie. Willie, who appears, disappears, and reappears throughout the act, lives in a hole behind Winnie's mound. Most often the back of his head or an arm and hand are visible. Occasionally, Willie answers Winnie's questions in a short phrase or two or makes references to information he finds in a newspaper.

Act 2

Winnie is immersed up to her neck in the mound. She wears a ragged feather hat. She can't turn or bow her head, but her eyes move, surveying the world around her. The revolver lays on the ground near her head, but it is out of reach. The items from her black bag continue to inspire memories and attempts at conversation with Willie, but as her situation has deteriorated it is increasingly difficult for her to believe today will be another "happy day." At the end of the play, Willie appears wearing a tuxedo and moving in Winnie's direction. The curtain falls before it becomes clear whether Willie is crawling toward Winnie or the revolver.

Happy Days Plot Diagram

ClimaxFalling ActionRising ActionIntroductionResolution2134675


1 Winnie is buried up to her waist in a mound.

Rising Action

2 Winnie talks about random things.

3 Winnie is buried up to her neck.

4 A bell rings when Winnie shuts her eyes.


5 Willie tries to crawl up Winnie's mound.

Falling Action

6 Winnie sings a song.


7 Willie and Winnie stare at each other.

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