DEATH in Spoon River | Skillshare Projects

Becka Crawshaw

Student of English Lit. Love being creative!



DEATH in Spoon River


Following the unexpected death of an emotionally-unstable female patient, an investigation into the life and methods of a successful doctor are thrust into action.

My screenplay so far [no where near finished but I desperately need feedback to see if I am on the right track! - just to add, Minerva has split-personalities, might make a bit more sense when you're reading it then :)].




Split Personalities

The act of being 'possessed'


Psychological thriller / (Murder) Mystery / Experimentation

I have chosen this text above the others on the course principally due to Masters’ creative choice of inset narrative. Not only are the characters in Spoon River allowed to voice their opinions on American citizen life, but their dialogues exist (paradoxically) deep within the grave from which they are narrated.

Doctor Meyers, who significantly grabbed my attention and who I find uncomfortably intriguing, simplifies death as if it were a common occurrence that he had normalized during his occupation as a doctor. Yet his duty to preserve and ultimately save lives contradicts all of what his dialogue suggests. As a way to raise this concern I hope to dramatize and adapt Masters’ initial interpretation and add an unconventional twist (which will be revealed) that not only satirizes but challenges the established façade of the medical profession. I am looking forward to exposing some really gritty sexual tension and sexual innuendos that will lead up to the climactic episode that results in the death of Minerva Jones - the towns poetess whose thirst for attention and crave for recognition can be treated only in one manner...and by the best doc in town.

MAIN CONCEPT: Involuntary Homocide (also known as Involuntary Manslaughter) described on Wikipedia as -

- The act of unlawfully killing another human being unintentionally.

- The crime of killing a human being without malice aforethought, or in circumstances not amounting to murder.


Doctor Meyers (& Mrs. Meyers/Minerva Jones) in Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. I will use snippets from these extracts to aid ideas in the creation of my 8-minute screenplay. 

Doctor Meyers –

NO other man, unless it was Doc Hill,

Did more for people in this town than l.

And all the weak, the halt, the improvident

And those who could not pay flocked to me.

I was good-hearted, easy Doctor Meyers.

I was healthy, happy, in comfortable fortune,

Blest with a congenial mate, my children raised,

All wedded, doing well in the world.

And then one night, Minerva, the poetess,

Came to me in her trouble, crying.

I tried to help her out—she died—

They indicted me, the newspapers disgraced me, 

My wife perished of a broken heart.

And pneumonia finished me.

Mrs. Meyers –

HE protested all his life long

The newspapers lied about him villainously;

That he was not at fault for Minerva’s fall, 

But only tried to help her.

Poor soul so sunk in sin he could not see 

That even trying to help her, as he called it,

He had broken the law human and divine.

Passers by, an ancient admonition to you:

If your ways would be ways of pleasantness, 

And all your pathways peace,

Love God and keep his commandments.

Minerva Jones

I thirsted so for love

I hungered so for life!


{Any feedback would be so so helpful, thanks!}


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