Other plays are easy to write, like Curse of the Starving Class, True West - they just kind of happened.
Act 2 Themes and Colors Key LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Buried Child, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. Family and Its Demise Failure and the American Dream The Presence of the Past Rituals Summary Analysis On a rainy day in rural Illinois inDodge, a sickly man in his late seventies, sits on the couch in the living room of his old, rundown farmhouse.
He stares at the television. After a while, Dodge looks to make sure that no one is watching him, then pulls a bottle of whiskey from underneath the couch cushion, takes a long drink, and returns it to its hiding place.
The opening moments of the play immediately establish Dodge, the family patriarch, as weak and vulnerable. The decaying family farmhouse is a fitting metaphor for both the failure of the American Dream and the collapse of this family.
Active Themes Dodge attempts to suppress a cough, but his wife Halie hears him, and she calls to him from upstairs, suggesting that Dodge take some medicine.
Dodge ignores her, takes another drink, and lights a cigarette. He has another coughing fit, and Halie threatens to come downstairs, but Dodge tells her not to. The rain outside calls to mind the Biblical flood in Genesis—an image of both punishment and renewal. Dodge and Halie, far from being an ideal of family patriarch and matriarch, are ineffectual and constantly at odds.
Active Themes Halie again tells Dodge to take a pill for his cough. She wonders aloud whether taking medicine is the Christian thing to do, but concludes that Dodge might as well take it. Active Themes Halie advises Dodge not to watch any television programs that will get him excited, such as horse racing, and the two argue about what day of the week horse races are held.
Halie recounts a fanciful story from a time before she and Dodge were married, describing how a handsome man once escorted her to a horse race. Dodge insults her for her promiscuity.
The anecdote about the horse racing not only shows how Halie seems to revise the past, but also further establishes the antagonistic relationship between husband and wife. Dodge adamantly refuses to let Bradley cut his hair. Halie says that Tilden, their eldest son, is in the kitchen, and suggests that he might protect Dodge—an idea the Dodge scoffs at.
Dodge calls out for Tilden and then goes into a horrible coughing fit. The two adult sons are unable to take care of their aging parents like we might expect. In this exchange, Bradley is characterized as abusive and Tilden as unable to protect even himself, much less his father.
Dodge asks Tilden where he got the corn, and Tilden tells him that he has just picked it in the fields out back. He tells Tilden that Halie has already told him about some mysterious incident in New Mexico that has landed Tilden back home in Illinois.
Tilden exits to get a chair from the kitchen, and Dodge pushes the ears of corn off his body. Here we also learn that Tilden has been forced to return home after trying to make a new life for himself elsewhere. Active Themes Tilden returns with a chair and pail and begins to husk the corn.This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Buried Child by Sam Shepard.
“Buried Child” takes place during an economic recession in s America. The play is set on a farm in Illinois, and centers around Halie and Dodge, a middle-class agricultural couple enduring poverty along with their two children, Tilden and.
Sam Shepard: "Buried Child and Tooth of Crime were tough plays to write. Other plays are easy to write, like Curse of the Starving Class, True West - they just kind of happened. But these plays were straggles. Not to say that I didn't have fun with them, but they were not the same breed of animal.".
Buried Child is a play by Sam Shepard first presented in It won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and launched Shepard to national fame as a playwright. LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Buried Child, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Sam Shepard grew up on the farm in California and was a member of a broken family because his father was an alcoholic. The play was firstly produced in the year From this and from the story itself implies my presumption that the whole story is set in the ’s when the USA was in a hard economic situation caused by the war in Vietnam.
Symbolism in Sam Shepard’s Play Buried Child The play is about an unsuccessful family to deal with the secret of incest between the mother and the son. The secret is closed with the murder of the child.